White House Blasts 'Illegitimate' Construction

White House spokesman warns new Israeli construction will "have detrimental impacts on the ground".

Elad Benari, Canada ,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest

Israel’s publishing of tenders to build 450 new homes in Judea and Samaria has left the United States deeply concerned, the White House said Friday.

The White House condemned the construction plans as "illegitimate and counterproductive" to achieving peace, according to the AFP news agency.

"We have deep concerns about these highly contentious settlement construction announcements," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

"They will have detrimental impacts on the ground, enflame already heightened tensions with the Palestinians and further isolate the Israelis internationally," he warned.

Earlier Friday, a leftist NGO monitoring Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria announced that the Israeli government had published tenders to have 114 homes built in Adam, 156 in Elkana, 78 in Alfei Menashe and 102 in Kiryat Arba.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the decision, with PLO official Wassel Abu Yusef saying, "What the Israelis announced is part of a wider war...against the Palestinian people. This is a war crime which should push the settlements issue to the International Criminal Court."

There has been an absolute drought in term of construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria due to a covert building freeze implemented by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition, even though there was no express demand or agreement with an external source causing the freeze.

The United States regularly condemns Israeli construction announcements. The last such condemnation came in November, when the Jerusalem municipality approved the construction of 78 new homes for Jews in Jerusalem.

At that time, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke stressed Washington's "clear and consistent opposition to construction activity in East Jerusalem."

"During this sensitive time in Jerusalem, we would see such activity as inconsistent with the goal of lower tensions and seeking a path toward peace," he added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)