U.S. Condemns Shomron Building Plan

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s announcement of future Jewish housing starts in the Shomron drew the usual condemnation from the United States on Wednesday.

Just hours after Israel’s Civil Administration gave approval to 463 housing units in the Shomron region, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed the administration’s “deep concern” for the Israeli decision.

“This significant expansion of the settlement enterprise poses a very serious and growing threat to the viability of the two-state solution,” Earnest said.

The administration spokesman then went further, addressing moves Israel has taken to secure small outpost communities.

“We are particularly troubled by the policy of retroactively approving illegal outposts and unauthorized settlement units,” added Earnest. “These policies have effectively given the government’s green light for the pervasive advancement of settlement activity in a new and potentially unlimited way.”

The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday morning gave retroactive approval to 179 constructed units in Ofarim, built without proper permission.

No official Israel response was issued as of Wednesday evening, but earlier in the week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rebuffed criticism of his government’s housing policies in a briefing presented to the U.N. Security Council by Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov.

Netanyahu rejected as “absurd” the contention that Israel had no right to build in Yehudah and Shomron and east Yerushalayim.