What’s the U.S. saying about Palestine, today? More illegal settlements
At the U.S. State Department press briefing on Tuesday, a question was asked in regards to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu approving land for construction of 454 homes in two settlements in East Jerusalem.
The reporter asked Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner if the U.S. has any comment on the situation. Toner reiterated the U.S.’ stance on settlements, stating that, “we view this kind of activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace.”
Toner stated that the administration will continue to convey their disagreement with the settlements to the Israeli government.
QUESTION: I’ve got two things. One, we have a story out saying that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes in two settlements in East Jerusalem. One of them – that is the one where there would be 436 of the housing units – is in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo, which you will recall was the subject of fairly harsh criticism from the Administration and from Vice President Biden in particular when the plans were first put forward. And then the other one is 18 units in Ramot.
Do you have any comment on this? I know it’s not an initial thing —
MR TONER: I do.
QUESTION: Good. Yeah, please.
MR TONER: So no, I’m aware – obviously, we are aware of these new tenders that have been offered. Our longstanding position on such actions in East Jerusalem as well as in the West Bank is very clear. We view this kind of activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. We remain deeply concerned about Israel’s current policy on settlements, including construction, planning, and retroactive legalizations, and we remain unequivocally opposed to these kinds of unilateral steps that, frankly, seek to prejudge the outcome of any negotiations.
QUESTION: And one other thing.
MR TONER: Yes.
QUESTION: And beyond that – well, actually just to follow up on that.
MR TONER: Yeah, sure.
QUESTION: Beyond making that statement, is the Administration going to do anything about this?
MR TONER: Well, I mean, what we —
QUESTION: Are you going to say it, or are you going to —
MR TONER: Sure. I mean, what we always do is convey these concerns to the Israeli Government. We have frank and candid exchanges with them on these issues every day. I’m not sure at what level we may convey this, but certainly, we will convey our – as I said, our disagreement on this – these actions.