United States and Israel at odds over West Bank settlement

TEL AVIV, Israel,  Israel rejected heavy U.S. criticism for approving a new Jewish settlement on the West Bank, a move the United States said violated Israel’s pledge against new settlements.

Israel rejected harsh U.S. criticism Wednesday over new contruction on the West Bank. Israel said it only relocating a settlement, but the United States contends it is violating a pledge to build no new settlements on the West Bank. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo

The plan was “strongly condemned” by the U.S. State Department, which also said new settlements undermined the long-term security goal of a new military aid package Israel signed with the United States three weeks ago.

The deal provides Israel with $38 billion in aid over the next decade.

Israel disputed whether the new construction was actually settlements. The illegal outpost of Amona is being re-located and “are not the obstacle to peace,” said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.

“This housing will be built on state land in the existing settlement of Shilo 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 Foreign Ministry also said in the statement a two-state solution is still viable, “in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel.”

By Shawn Price