A child overlooks the community of Shvut Rach
A child overlooks the community of Shvut RachIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The United States criticized Israel on Wednesday over the approval of 500 housing units for the Shomron community of Shilo, saying that Israel’s “settlement activity” was not “constructive” for Middle East.

The Judea and Samaria administration committee also retroactively legalized at least 200 more homes on humanitarian grounds in the nearby community of Shvut Rachel.

AFP quoted State Department spokesman Mark Toner as having said he was not familiar with the latest approvals but reiterating that the United States opposes such moves.

“We don’t believe it’s in any way constructive to getting both sides back to the negotiating table,” Toner was quoted as having told reporters.

“We want to see clearly a comprehensive settlement that delineates borders and resolves many of these issues,” he added.

AFP reported that the Palestinian Authority also condemned the approval in Shilo, accusing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of setting back the already slow diplomacy aimed at a two-state solution.

Leftist Peace Now organization leader Yariv Oppenheimer already began to attack the decision Wednesday morning in an interview on Army Radio, even prior to its announcement by the government.

“What began as an outpost of 30 units receives a jumpstart and becomes a huge settlement of thousands of new settlers,” he complained. “That is not the path to two states; that is the path to a bi-national state.”