US State Department
US State DepartmentiStock

The United States on Monday criticized Israel’s approval of the construction of approximately 5,700 housing units throughout Judea and Samaria.

Speaking to reporters, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Washington was "deeply troubled" by the move and added that US officials have made clear publicly and privately to Israel their opposition to such moves.

“I will reiterate our longstanding position which we have said publicly from this podium. Privately, we say this directly to Israeli officials — that we believe that settlements are an impediment to a negotiated two-state solution along 1967 lines, which ultimately we believe is the best way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” added Miller.

The comments came after the Civil Administration's Higher Planning Council gave final approval for 818 units, including 359 in Elkana, 381 in Revava, 29 in Givat Ze'ev, 42 in Carmel, and seven in Hermesh.

First stage approvals were granted for 4,915 units including: 1,563 in Eli, 98 in Ariel, 714 in Givat Ze'ev, 340 in Ma'ale Adumim, 312 in Beitar Illit, 310 in Adura, 264 in Etz Efraim, 152 in Ma'ale Amos, and 78 in Asfar (Metzad).

Miller’s comments are the latest in a series of recent US condemnations of planned Israeli construction of homes for Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria.

On Friday, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated Washington’s opposition to new construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, after National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir urged the residents of Judea and Samaria to “run for the hilltops”.

“We have been clear and consistent that we do not support additional settlement activity. Our policy with respect to settlements has not changed and will not change, and we have been very consistent in communicating that directly to government officials in Israel,” he said.

“I can’t speak to their comments, or why they’re saying what they’re saying, that’s a better question for them,” continued Kirby. “I can just tell you that our policy on settlements has not changed.”

Several days earlier, the US criticized Israel’s decision to advance the planning of over 4,500 housing units in various communities in Judea and Samaria, saying it is “deeply troubled” by it.

“We are similarly concerned by reports of changes to Israel’s system of settlement administration that expedite the planning and approvals of settlements,” Miller said in a statement, referring to the regulations that would see the approval process for construction in Judea and Samaria be reduced to just two stages from the current six stages.

“As has been longstanding policy, the United States opposes such unilateral actions that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve and are an obstacle to peace. We call on the Government of Israel to fulfill the commitments it made in Aqaba, Jordan and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and return to dialogue aimed at de-escalation,” he added.