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US slams expansion of Israeli outpost 'deep in' W. Bank

White House says announcement violates assurances provided by Tel Aviv

Michael Hernandez   | 06.10.2016
US slams expansion of Israeli outpost 'deep in' W. Bank

Washington DC

WASHINGTON

The U.S. on Wednesday harshly rebuked Israel’s plans to expand a settlement deep in the heart of the West Bank, saying it threatens to stymy the viability of a Palestinian state.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest did not mince his words when he told reporters that Tel Aviv’s announcement makes the achievement of a two-state solution that Israel and Palestine have said they are seeking, “harder to achieve”.

The recently announced plans would see Israel construct 98 new housing units in the Shilo settlement, located northeast of Ramallah.

Earnest said the announcement is different from others because Shilo “is deep in the West Bank” and would unite a string of existing settlements that would further encroach on the West Bank.

“The settlement location is far closer to Jordan than it is to Israel. And it would effectively link a string of outposts that could divide the West Bank,” he said.

He added that it violates previous “public assurances” from the Israeli government.

"When we're talking about how good friends treat one another, that's a source of serious concern as well,” he said.

Earnest invoked the memory of recently deceased Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, who the U.S. hailed as a peacemaker. The plans “fundamentally undermine the prospects for the kind of two-state solution that Mr. Peres dedicated his life to passionately supporting,” Earnest said.

"This kind of announcement from the Israelis only puts that kind of solution farther from reach," he added.

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