US and European Union rebuke Israel’s new settlement plans in East Jerusalem

The White House Tuesday rebuked Israel for officially endorsing 1,500 new Jewish residences in Arab East Jerusalem, saying the action makes suspicious Israel’s pledge to peace talks and an independent Palestinian state. A number of European Union countries also condemned the Israeli move.

“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, according to the Washington Post. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path toward a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.”

The Palestinians recently said that they expect all of the UN Security Council members, excluding the US, to denounce Israel's fresh announcements of constructing new homes in East Jerusalem.

The Obama administration’s statement delivered an unusual but hard blow to Israel, its top Midle East ally. However, Israelis think the US would not support a Security Council resolution or statement.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said an almost global agreement exists against Israel's plans and actions, an indication to the 169-6 vote in the General Assembly Tuesday on a non-binding resolution reproving new settlement plans and actions by Israel and asking for their abrupt end.

Israeli authorities Monday approved proposal for construction of new houses in the Ramat Shlomo, a particularly sensitive settlement plan on land occupied during the 1967 war and deemed vital for an independent and separate Palestinian state. The Israeli plan comes as vengeance for the Palestinians’ recent winning bid for improved statehood-status at the UN.

The UN General Assembly recently approved a partial statehood-status for Palestine. The US rejected the action, saying it damaged the objective of a negotiated resolution of the issue with the Jewish State.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the Israeli plan and said all Israeli settlements are "illegal under international law." He said Israel should undo its recent settlement expansion plans in East Jerusalem, saying the plans implementation would make a two-state solution very difficult to achieve.

Several nations under the European Union, which has been growingly outspoken in its disapproval of fresh Israeli settlements, also condemned the Israeli plan. In an extraordinary move, a series of European governments summoned their Israeli ambassadors to file protests regarding the Israeli settlement plans.