US criticizes Israel over new settlement project in East al-Quds

US criticizes Israel over new settlement project in East al-Quds

Thu Oct 2, 2014 1:10AM GMT

The Obama administration has warned Israel against its plan for a new settlement project in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

Earnest said Obama brought up US concerns about the controversial housing project during his Wednesday meeting with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

“This development will only draw condemnation from the international community,” Earnest said. “It also would call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

Earnest also said that Israel would draw a gap between itself and “its closest allies” and put into question its commitment to establishing peace with Palestinians.

Washington also criticized Tel Aviv for the recent occupation of residential areas in Silwan, East al-Quds where hundreds of hard-line Israeli people are living now.

Earnest described the occupation as “provocative” saying, it would further increase tensions now that they “have already been high”.

The Israeli regime has recently approved the construction of more than 2,600 illegal settler units in East al-Quds.

Palestine Liberation Organization leader Hanan Ashrawi also slammed the construction of more settler units, saying that Israel was more interested in “stealing land than making peace.”

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds in 1967.

Many countries and the United Nations consider the Israeli settlements to be illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are thus subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

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