U.S. ‘concerned’ about Israeli plans to build in settlements


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States raised concerns with Israel over its approval of 147 new West Bank settler homes and its plans for 949 more.

“We are speaking to the government of Israel and making our concerns known,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday at a press briefing in Washington. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and opposes any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts.”

The approval was made Wednesday by the Higher Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration, according to the organization Peace Now, and comes one week after the launch of renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The second round of talks is to be held in Jerusalem on Aug. 14.

On Tuesday, Israel is expected to approve the release of 26 of the 104 Palestinian prisoners that are to be freed during the coming nine months as a confidence-building measure.

The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on the matter, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

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