Obama administration: 'Settlements are corrosive'

State Department, Zionist Union condemn spending program to strengthen, secure Yesha towns.

David Rosenberg ,

James Kirby at press briefing.
James Kirby at press briefing.

Obama administration officials and leaders of the Zionist Union party lambasted Israel’s government on Sunday over a 70 million shekel spending plan for Yesha towns, including a large allocation to boost security.

The coalition government passed on Sunday morning the spending plan, which includes 15 million shekels to bolster Yesha communities suffering from Arab terrorism in recent months. Also included in the spending package is 10 million shekels for renovations and improvements on public facilities, 12 million shekels for security improvements, 6 million shekels for social services, and 5.5 million shekels for tourism sites.

In response, US State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned the spending plan, saying it strengthened “settlement activity”, which he described as “corrosive”.

“Our position on settlement activity remains clear and consistent. We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace,” said Kirby. “We continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. Actions such as these do just the opposite.”

Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) blasted the government’s decision, saying the move deprived periphery communities of much-needed spending, diverting it instead to “political settlements”.

“The ‘National Union’ government headed by Netanyahu continues to waste tens of millions on political settlements at a time when the social periphery in Israel and young couples are crying out for these funds.”