Abu-Ghneim settlement, northwest of Bethlehem

US State Department: Israeli settlement policy is provocative

Bethlehem/PNN/

The US Department of State strongly condemned in a statement issued Wednesday Israel’s continued settlement expansion in occupied Jerusalem.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby said in the statement that the United States was “deeply concerned” by reports of the Israeli government opening tenders for 323 additional units in several Israeli settlements east of occupied Jerusalem.

He expressed his government’s disapproval of plans to build an additional 770 units in the Israeli settlement of Gilo which was announced Monday.

In the statement, Kirby said that the actions of the Israeli government aimed at fast-tracking the resettlement of Israeli citizens into Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory appeared to represent a “steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.” “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Kirby’s statement has joined a long line of other nations, international organizations, and rights groups, including the European Union and United Nations, that have condemned Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, which have escalated to a concerning degree over the past several months.