US accuses Israel of ‘systematic’ land seizures in Judea-Samaria

The United States on Tuesday criticized Israel’s plans to build 560 new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, warning that they would be part of “systematic” land seizures undermining chances for peace.

Israel’s green light for the homes came days after a key report from the diplomatic Quartet — the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia — warned that Israel’s ‘settlement expansion’ and ‘confiscation’ of Palestinian land were eroding the possibility of a two-state peace settlement.

Completion of the homes would “be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

“We oppose steps like these, which we believe are counterproductive to the cause of peace in general,” he told a briefing.

Under new approval granted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, planning for 560 new Jewish homes in the large Maale Adumim Jewish community east of Jerusalem will be allowed to move forward.

The Jewish community, founded in 1975, already has a population of more than 37,000.

The approval follows calls inside Israel for a harsh response to the latest spate of Palestinian terror attacks.