While criticizing Israel’s latest plans to erect thousands of other houses for Jewish settlers in the West Bank on Monday, the United States did not mention taking action against its close Middle Eastern partner.
The plans were disclosed late on Sunday by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said they were in response to recent, deadly Palestinian unrest.
According to the statement, Israel would legitimize nine illegally constructed settlement outposts, and a special planning committee would be created soon to approve the new settlement buildings.
Bezalel Smotrich, the hardline settler finance minister, who also has control over settlement building, claimed that 10,000 dwelling units were about to be granted.
Israeli ultranationalists who support settlement expansion and oppose Palestinian statehood make up most of Netanyahu’s new government.
The United States opposes the expansion of settlements on Palestinian-claimed occupied lands.
The West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel took in the 1967 Middle East conflict and which the Palestinians want for their future state, are today home to more than 700,000 Jewish Israelis.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared in Washington that the Israeli action had “seriously concerned” the United States.
We vehemently disagree with such unilateral actions, which heighten hostilities and dim the prospects for a two-state solution that is negotiated.
However, Blinken made no mention that the Biden administration is ready to act. Israel has previously dismissed similar expressions of worry.