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US ‘deeply troubled’ by Israel’s illegal settlement decision

May 22, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Israeli forces take security measures in the area, on April 11, 2023 in Nablus, West Bank [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agenc]

The United States is “deeply troubled” by the Israeli government’s decision to allow Jewish settlers to return to an abandoned illegal settlement built on private Palestinian land.

US State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller pointed out that the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank was illegal even under Israeli law because it was built on private Palestinian land. All of Israel’s settlements and settlers are illegal under international law.

“This order is inconsistent with both former Prime Minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush Administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden Administration,” said Miller. “Advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution.”

READ: Israel kills three more Palestinians in occupied West Bank

Furthermore, the spokesman condemned Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir for his raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. “We are also concerned by today’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem and the accompanying inflammatory rhetoric. This holy space should not be used for political purposes, and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity.”

Miller concluded his statement by saying: “More broadly, we reaffirm the longstanding US position in support of the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites and underline Jordan’s special role as custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.”

Storming Al-Haram Al-Sharif in the early morning with special guards and under the protection of Israeli security forces, far-right extremist Ben-Gvir claimed Israel’s ownership of the Islamic holy site in a video message from the mosque’s courtyard.

This was the second time – the first was on 3 January – that Ben-Gvir has stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque since taking office as national security minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December.

READ: Israel opposition slams Ben-Gvirs storming of Jerusalems Al-Aqsa complex