US questions Israel commitment to two-state solution

SHAFAQNA - The U.S. spoke with Israel about getting the Palestinian “peace process back on track,” one day after Tel Aviv approved construction of new housing units in the West Bank, the State Department said Thursday.

Spokesman Mark Toner said the settlement expansion threatened the two-state solution and questioned Israel’s “commitment” 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 illegitimate”.

The U.S. on Wednesday condemned Israel’s moves to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and urged actions that would jeopardize the two-state process.

The condemnation came just hours after Tel Aviv granted approval for the construction of 300 new housing units in the settlement of Beit El, as well as a planning approval to build nearly 500 housing units in a number of settlements in East Jerusalem.

International law views East Jerusalem and the West Bank as occupied territories and deems illegal any construction of Israeli settlements on the land.

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