John Kerry, John Kirby
John Kerry, John Kirby Reuters

Following on the heels of condemnation by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon late Tuesday against Israel's designation of territory in Judea and Samaria as state land, the US State Department lost no time in following suit and criticizing the Jewish state.

It was reported by Army Radio on Tuesday that Israel declared 234 hectares of territory to be state land in an area near Jericho and the Dead Sea, in a process of declaring unclaimed land as property of the state.

US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby slammed the designation by saying it has a negative impact on a two state solution, which calls to divide Israel and establish an Arab-only state of "Palestine."

"This is a troubling situation. This decision is an additional step in what looks like an ongoing process of land expropriation and settlement expansion that are fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two state solution."

"As we have said in the past, we strongly oppose any steps that accelerate settlement expansion, which raises serious questions about Israel's long-term intentions," Kirby said in the news briefing.

"While at the same time we continue to demand from both sides to demonstrate true obligations towards each other, expropriations like this do exactly the opposite."

Palestinian Arab journalists tried to get Kirby to use even stronger anti-Israel rhetoric, asking why American defense aid to Israel has not been affected if the US is so concerned about the matter. Kirby responded by saying that the government is not even considering a move such as cutting aid.

Kirby's condemnation came on the heels of Ban's words, delivered by UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric who said, "such actions appear to point toward an increase in settlement activities and demonstrate that Israel is continuing to push forward in the consolidation of its control of the West Bank."

"Settlements are illegal under international law and the secretary-general urges the government of Israel to halt and reverse such actions in the interest of a just and comprehensive peace and a just final status agreement," he said.

The 2012 Levy Report proved that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is in fact legal according to international law. The report, however, has yet to be adopted by the Israeli government.

Making the UN and US condemnation all the more surprising is the total lack of their response to the European Union's (EU) illegal construction on Israeli land for Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, in a blatant breach of the 1994 Oslo Accords.

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