The United States
says it is deeply worried about Israel’s reported plans to build hundreds of new settlement units in East Jerusalem al-Quds on top of previously announced 770 units in the illegal Gilo settlement.
Israel’s plan to build an additional 323 units is “corrosive to the cause of peace” and “continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday.
“These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Kirby said.
Peace Now, an advocacy and activist group in Israel, which opposes the settlements, says Israel has issued tenders for the construction of 323 housing units in East al-Quds.
Last week, the al-Quds municipality filed construction plans for 770 residential units in the settlement of Gilo, drawing condemnation both from UN and Palestinian officials.
Kirby said Washington is also concerned about increased demolitions of Palestinian houses and buildings in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, which have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children.
Israel says it conducts demolitions because Palestinians build homes without permits. Palestinians and foreign governments monitoring demolitions and settlement activities say permits are nearly impossible to obtain.
The presence and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine have created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East
. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of their future independent state, with East al-Quds as its capital.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.