U.S. Blasts Israel on Building Plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

The U.S. State Department says it is deeply concerned about Israel’s reported plans to build an additional 323 Jewish housing units in eastern Yerushalayim on top of previously announced 770 units in the neighborhood of Gilo, the the U.S. State Department said.

Such action by Israel “continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kirby called the building activity “corrosive to the cause of peace.”

In addition to the plans for eastern Yerushalayim and Gilo, Kirby cited plans for other units, including 531 in Maalei Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, and 30 in Pisgat Zeev. He also noted a plan to legalize an outpost near Ramallah; and tenders for 42 units in Kiryat Arba.

Israel says Jews have a right to live anywhere in Yerushalyim, its “eternal and indivisible capital.”

The United States is also concerned about increased demolitions of Palestinian houses and buildings, Kirby said.

Israel says it carries out demolitions because Palestinians built them without permits.