(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A senior Israeli government official has called U.S. condemnation of the construction permits issued for some 98 apartments next to Shiloh, "disproportionate," saying it’s meant to serve as a "cover" and an "alibi" for U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to change American policy and to present a diplomatic plan, according to a report by Channel 2 News.
The new apartments will be used to provide homes for the residents of the outpost of Amona, which is under demolition order.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the planned construction "a setback" to the efforts to reignite the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the White House strongly condemns the construction, which he said amounted to the creation of a new settlement.
In response to the U.S. statements, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that “the 98 housing units approved in Shiloh do not constitute a 'new settlement.' This housing will be built on state land in the existing settlement of Shiloh and will not change its municipal boundary or geographic footprint.”
“The units are intended to provide a housing solution for the residents of Amona who must leave their homes in accordance with the demolition order issued by Israel's High Court of Justice,” the statement added.