The United States on Friday criticized Israeli policies in Judea and Samaria during a UN Security Council discussion on the issue.
The meeting, titled "Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution," was informal and did not involve a vote. It was held at the initiative of Egypt, Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal and Angola.
The U.S. representative to the session, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the UN David Pressman, said Washington is "deeply concerned and strongly opposes settlements which are corrosive to peace," according to Haaretz.
Pressman added that Israeli activities in Judea and Samaria, primarily construction of new communities, “create a one state reality on the ground."
The U.S. calls on both sides to adopt policies and take immediate steps toward "implementing the two-state solution," he said, according to Haaretz.
At the same time, Pressman also condemned Palestinian Arab terror attacks on Israelis, and said that figures who incite violence are sending a message to the international community that they aren't interested in peace.
The remarks mark the latest incident in which American officials have condemned Israeli construction projects in Judea and Samaria.
The State Department this past summer used unusually harsh language in condemning plans to build 770 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and describing them as “corrosive” to peace.
Similarly, Washington recently condemned the Israeli approval of the construction of 98 homes on government-owned land in Shilo. The housing units are for residents of the community of Amona who are slated be evicted from their homes.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the new construction "another step towards cementing a one state reality of perpetual occupation", adding that it would “make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote."
At Friday’s UN meeting, noted Haaretz, the Russian representative said that the conflict is approaching "the moment of truth." He noted that there is a consensus about the illegality of Israeli construction, house demolitions and violence.
"Settlement construction must stop," he was quoted as having said, asserting that it creates "Palestinian enclaves" that are disconnected from the outside world.
"Israel needs security, but without the two-state solution, the threat to Israel will grow," added the Russian envoy.
Responding to the session, a senior Israeli official said that claims that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace are baseless.
"These claims deny thousands of years of deep connection between the people of Israel and its land – just like it was done yesterday with UNESCO's absurd decision," the official said, according to Haaretz.
"Referring to Israeli communities as an obstacle to peace recycles the scandalous Palestinian demand that Palestine be free of Jews. In any other case, such a demand would be rejected out of hand. No one would think to say that a condition for peace is that Israel be free of Arabs," he added.
"The real obstacle to peace is the continued Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state within any borders," continued the official. "This refusal is expressed through the demand to cleanse Judea and Samaria of Jews and the relentless Palestinian incitement to terrorism."
(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.)