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FM says Israel does not need US permission to build settlements

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid holds a press conference at the Foreign Ministry, in Ukraine, on April 24, 2022 in Jerusalem. [Israeli Gov't Press Office (GPO - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem on 24 April 2022 [Israeli Gov't Press Office (GPO - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Tel Aviv does not need permission from the United States to build settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"Israel is a sovereign state and does not ask for permission to operate in its territory," Lapid told reporters in the Knesset yesterday.

Lapid's remarks came amid the latest diplomatic row between Israel and the United States over a meeting of the Israeli Higher Planning Council in the West Bank scheduled on Thursday to advance and approve plans for 3,988 illegal settlerhomes.

The Biden administration had asked Israel not to advance the plans, given its strong opposition to any Israeli settlement construction.

"We always update the Americans" when it comes to settlement construction, Lapid added, explaining that this is not the same thing as obtaining Washington's approval.

To offset US anger over the step, Israel cut back on the scope of the plans by some 1,800-2,000 units, however the move did not appease the Biden administration.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and State Department spokesman Ned Price have reiterated that they believe such settlement activity harms the possibility of creating a two-state solution to the conflict.

When asked about tension with the US on this matter, Lapid said that if the advancement of plans for 3,988 settler homes had "international consequences – it is my job to deal with them and I will deal with them".

READ: EU blasts Israeli plan to evict Palestinian families in occupied West Bank

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