Blinken Gives “Israel” A Yellow Card over Settlements Approval
Conversation between Israeli security minister and US secretary of state - over Israeli government plans to build thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank - was ‘tense,’ according to media reports.
Israeli and US media revealed that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli security Minister Benny Gantz held a "tense" phone call on Tuesday regarding "Israel’s" advancement of plans to build thousands of new settlement units, according to the US and Israeli media reports.
During the phone call, Blinken expressed Washington's strong opposition to the construction of 3,000 new housing units in the occupied West Bank.
“The Americans gave us a yellow card,” a senior Israeli official was quoted as saying.
Furthermore, Blinken told Gantz the construction plans are “unacceptable,” and asked him to “consider the American opinion on settlements in the future.”
Bitter US Denunciation of Israeli Settlement Construction
The Biden-Gantz call came just days after the Biden administration issued its strongest public condemnation of Israeli settlement construction.
The US had repeatedly warned against settlement expansion and construction on occupied Palestinian land - a warning that was not followed by any action on the matter after the occupation ignored it.
The state department on Tuesday did something unprecedented, as it denounced the Israeli construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. "We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government's plan to advance thousands of settlement units," said department spokesperson Ned Price.
Additionally, Israeli authorities announced Sunday the publication of tenders for the construction of more than 3,144 settlement units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The US opposed the matter, Price told reporters, "We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and it damages the prospects for a two-state solution."
"We also view plans for the retroactive legalization of illegal outposts as unacceptable," the spokesman asserted.
Price did not say the construction of settlements would jeopardize relations with the occupation - which is not surprising - however, he did say the Biden administration would raise the issue "directly" with senior Israeli officials in private sessions.
The Israeli government approved on Wednesday the construction of 3,144 settlements in the West Bank, and those will include 30 units in the West Bank and occupied al-Quds, 380 units in "Kedumim," 292 units in "Kfar Ezion," and 286 units in "Har Brakha."