Preliminary plans for the construction of 28 Jewish homes in Chevron has prompted another expression of concern from the United States, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
“We’ve said repeatedly such moves are not consistent with Israel’s stated desire to achieve a two-state solution,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington.
The homes would be built within an existing military base, Plugat Hamitkanim, which is located next to the Shavei Chevron Yeshiva, in the old Beit Romano building. The project has the support of the local Jewish community, along with the Construction and Justice ministries.
Toner characterized the project as a “deeply concerning step of settlement expansion,” in response to a reporter’s question.
Peace Now, which opposes any civilian use of the site, said that the new plans run counter to past state legal opinions on the matter.
The property in question has a complicated legal history, reflecting decades of military and political turmoil in the region.
The state explained that the property belonged to a member of the old Jewish community in Chevron which fled after the 1929 Arab riots in which 67 Jews were murdered.
After the 1948 War of Independence, it passed into the hands of the Jordanian government, which then rented it to the Hebron Municipality, which used it as a bus station.
The Israeli Custodian of Abandoned Property continued that rental situation when the IDF took control of the area after the Six Day War in 1967. But in 1983, the IDF seized that property and an adjacent Palestinian lot, to create a military base, citing security considerations.
A Justice Ministry source told the Post that the prevailing legal opinion now is that the Chevron Municipality’s lease has run out and Jewish homes can be built there.