SHAFAQNA -Â The U.S. spoke with Israel about getting the Palestinian “peace process back on track,”Â one day afterÂ Tel Aviv approved construction of new housing units in the West Bank, the State Department said Thursday.
Spokesman Mark Toner saidÂ the settlement expansion threatenedÂ the two-state solution and questioned Israel’s “commitment”Â to finding a resolution to the crisis.
“We have made our profound concerns about continued settlement construction clear to Israel’s leaders, obviously publicly, but also privately,” he said.
“We oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and we view settlements as illegitimateâ€.
The U.S. on Wednesday condemnedÂ Israel’s moves to expand settlements in the occupiedÂ West Bank and urged actions that would jeopardize the two-state process.
The condemnation came just hours after Tel Aviv grantedÂ approvalÂ for the construction of 300 new housing units in theÂ settlement of Beit El, as well as a planning approvalÂ to build nearly 500 housing units in a number of settlements in East Jerusalem.
International law views East Jerusalem and the West BankÂ as occupied territoriesÂ and deemsÂ illegal any construction ofÂ IsraeliÂ settlements on the land.