US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel condemned the Knesset's passage of an amendment repealing the Disengagement from northern Samaria and allowing Jews to return to the four communities which were destroyed there in 2005.
"The United States is extremely troubled that the Israeli Knesset has passed legislation rescinding important parts of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank," Patel said.
Patel claimed that Homesh, one of the four communities is "illegal" even under Israeli law because it was "built on private Palestinian land."
He called the move "particularly provocative and counterproductive to efforts for restoring calm" and said that the administration "strongly urges Israel to refrain from allowing the return of settlers to the area covered by the legislation."
"We have been clear that advancing settlements is an obstacle to peace and the achievement of a two-state solution," he said.
Patel further claimed that the move contradicts the commitments made by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to then-President George W. Bush, as well as the current government's commitment to de-escalate the current tensions with the Palestinian Authority.
Sharon's commitments to President Bush were reciprocated by a commitment from the Bush Administration to recognize the major settlement blocs where a large Jewish population already existed. In a letter to Sharon, Bush wrote that it was “unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”
Bush's commitment to Israel was discarded by the subsequent Obama Administration, which claimed that no record of such an agreement existed and demanded a full stop of all settlement activity, including in the major settlement blocs.