State Department Says US Is 'Deeply Concerned' by Israel Settlement Actions

Associated Press
State Department Says US Is 'Deeply Concerned' by Israel Settlement Actions US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during a briefing on 31 March 31, 2021. (photo: AFP)

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday said it was “deeply concerned” about an Israeli government plan to advance thousands of settlement units in the West Bank on Wednesday.

Spokesman Ned Price also said the U.S. was concerned about another 1300 tenders sought for West Bank settlements this past weekend.

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm,” Price said, adding it “damages the prospects for a two state solution.”

Meanwhile, Israel is sending an envoy to Washington amid a deepening rift with the Biden administration over six outlawed Palestinian rights groups, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.

Israel last week designated the prominent Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations, sparking international criticism and repeated assertions by Israel’s top strategic partner, the United States, that there had been no advance warning of the move.

Israel’s decision marked what critics say was a major escalation of its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories. The U.S. State Department has said it would seek more information on the decision.

Joshua Zarka, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, told Israeli Army Radio the envoy would “give them all the details and to present them all the intelligence” during his visit in the coming days.

The rights groups decision is emerging as a test of the relationship between the Biden administration and Israel’s new government, which was formed in June by eight politically disparate parties. The coalition ended the 12-year rule of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the U.N.’s Resolution on Chinese representation, Price reiterated that the U.S supports “Taiwan’s ability to participate meaningfully at the U.N. and to contribute its valuable expertise to address many of the global challenges we face.”

The State Department confirmed in a weekend statement that U.S. and Taiwanese officials had met virtually for a “discussion focused on supporting Taiwan’s ability to participate meaningfully at the UN.”

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