(JNS.org) The U.S. State Department on Wednesday expressed concern over Israel's plans to build over the pre-1967 Green Line, including 323 housing units eastern Jerusalem and 770 housing units in Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood southwest of Jerusalem.
"We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. 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," said State Department spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby pointed to reports of more plans for building in other Jewish communities including Ma'ale Adumim, Har Homa, Ramot, Pisgat Ze'ev and Kiryat Arba.
"We are also concerned about recent increased demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which reportedly have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children. More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus far than in all of 2015," Kirby added.
Kirby also referred to the recent Middle East Quartet report that claims Israel's current plans for building housing units is part of an "ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalizations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development" that would result in a "one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict."
"We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel's ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians."