Less than 24 hours after the United Nations voted to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a non-member observer state, Israel has responded by approving construction of new Jewish homes.But how does the Obama administration respond? Predictably with negativity as before:
On Friday afternoon, the forum of nine senior ministers approved the construction of 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
In addition, the nine ministers decided to promote the building of thousands of housing units in Jerusalem and in the so-called ‘settlement blocs’, including the area known as E1 which connects Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, a long-standing request.
A senior diplomatic source said, according to a Channel 2 News report, that "continued construction is done according to Israel's strategic interests." The source added that additional measures to respond to the PA’s unilateral move are currently being considered.
As expected, PA officials reacted with anger to the Israeli decision. Israel had warned that the step would lead to a reaction.
The White House said on Friday a new Israeli settlement expansion plan was "counterproductive" and could make it harder to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. [...]I'm sorry, but I fail to see how the White House's opposition to Israel's right to develop its own land amounts to opposition to the PLO's own one-sided tactics. The PLO has shown no sign that they wish to provide security for Israelis and if they're going to be so hostile and further the lies of a "palestinian people" then this is all they can expect for their contempt. A real shame that the Obama administration is continuing with the same line as before, and failing to prove that they're really against this whole farce being conducted at the UN.
"We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and east Jerusalem construction and announcements," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
"We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution," Vietor said. "Direct negotiations remain our goal and we encourage all parties to take steps to make that easier to achieve."
Last week, Washington urged Israel not to allow construction in the area known as E-1 between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim as a possible response to the Palestinian UN bid.
Building in E-1, which would create contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast beyond the Green Line, is something various Israeli governments have long wanted to do, but which US opposition has prevented.