U.S. ‘concerned’ about Israeli plans to build in settlements

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States raised concerns with Israel over its approval of 147 new West Bank settler homes and its decision to advance plans for 949 other units.

“We are speaking to the government of Israel and making our concerns known,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Thursday at a press briefing in Washington. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and opposes any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts.”


The approval of construction was made Wednesday by the Higher Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration, according to the Peace Now monitor on settlements. The plans relate to 21 plans inside 11 settlements, including Shilo, Almog and Alon Shevut.

The approval came one week after the first round of talks in resumed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which views settlement expansion as an impediment to peace.

The second round of talks is to be held in Jerusalem on August 14.

On Tuesday, in advance of Wednesday’s peace talks, Israel is expected to approve the release of 26 of the 104 Palestinian prisoners that are to be freed during the coming nine months.

The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on the matter, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.