by WorldTribune Staff, October 7, 2016
Israel’s plan to construct new home in the West Bank is a betrayal of the U.S.’s trust, the Obama administration suggested in a blunt statement from the White House.
Press secretary Josh Earnest on Oct. 5 criticized Israel’s construction of 300 housing units on land “far closer to Jordan than Israel.”
Earnest said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s word has now been called into question.
The timing of the settlement construction was also questioned by the White House. It came days after President Barack Obama approved a $38 billion Israeli military aid package and after former president Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem.
“We did receive public assurances from the Israeli government that contradict this announcement,” Earnest said. “I guess when we’re talking about how good friends treat one another, that’s a source of serious concern as well.”
The White House’s berating of Israel comes as Obama is seen weighing a last-ditch effort to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process before he leaves office in January. Peace efforts have been frozen since a U.S.-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.
At last week’s funeral for former president Shimon Peres, Obama pointedly spoke about the “unfinished business of peace.”
“He believed that the Zionist idea would be best protected when Palestinians, too, had a state of their own,” he said of the late elder statesman. “Of course, we gather here in the knowledge that Shimon never saw his dream of peace fulfilled.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Israel’s new settlement construction “is another step toward cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation.”