U.S. asks Israel to reconsider settlement of disputed West Bank area
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. on Monday asked Israel to reconsider its decision to construct 3,000 homes in the disputed area between East Jerusalem and West Bank called E1.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the move threatens resumption of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
The U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner and U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor also raised the same concern.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was defiant amid international criticism. His office said the decision to build homes in E1 will not change. The settlement of E1 will connect Jerusalem to the nearby Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim in the West Bank.
Washington was apparently caught off guard by Netanyahu’s decision being informed only hours before he made the official announcement on Friday, according to senior U.S. officials.
The Palestinian Authority saw the move as a retaliation for the United Nations’ overwhelming approval Thursday of its status upgrade; it is now a non-member observer state at the world body. The authority is opposed to new housing constructions in the West Bank.
The E1 is the Palestinians’ only link to East Jerusalem and its settlement will cut it off from the area they want to be their future capital.