US State Department
US State DepartmentiStock

US State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said on Friday that the Biden administration opposes new Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements which exacerbates tensions and undermines trust between the parties,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “Israel’s program of expanding settlements deeply damages the prospects for a two-state solution.”

The comments followed an announcement that the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration will convene next Thursday to approve about 3,988 housing units in Judea and Samaria.

The Council will convene for the first time since October, when more than 3,000 housing units were approved, but more than 1,700 of them have not yet received the signature of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, which is required in order to promote them.

Sources in Judea and Samaria who spoke to Israel National News on Friday were outraged at the number of housing units to be approved, claiming that the Committee was originally to have discussed some 5,800 housing units but that number was significantly reduced due to Israeli submission to American demands.

"We are shocked by the big cuts they made in the plans that were submitted and were ready. To hear the day after a terrorist attack so serious that, instead of building more, they are cutting plans in the settlement, it is a terrible and horrible thing," the sources said.

A diplomatic source said the entire move was coordinated with the US administration, including the number of housing units and their locations, and there had been a close discussion on the issue between the Gantz’s office and US representatives working on behalf of the US Embassy in Israel.

Despite the Biden administration’s opposition to the Israeli construction, President Joe Biden’s plans to visit Israel next month appear to be unaffected, JTA reported.

Pressed by JTA as to whether there would be repercussions for the announcement, and whether it would affect Biden’s plans to visit, Porter would only say, “We have been clear about the need to avoid unilateral steps that would exacerbate tensions and make it more difficult to preserve the viability of a two-state solution.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)