US 'backs Israeli settlement growth'

In an unannounced policy shift, Washington has given its approval for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to the New York Times.

    About 1000 more homes will be built in the occupied West Bank

    Although US policy and the internationally-backed "road map" for Middle East peace call for a freeze in all settlement activity, the Bush administration now supports construction of new apartments, the Times said on Saturday.

    The move reflects a decision this week to lend support to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during a time of political turmoil, an administration official said, describing "a covert policy decision toward accepting natural growth" despite public statements to the contrary.

    All such settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law but Israel disputes this.

    Inconsistency

    On Thursday, White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Israeli plans to build 1000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank were inconsistent with the road map, the Middle East peace plan jointly drafted by the US, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

    "Settlement expansion is not consistent with our understanding under the road map"

    Condoleeza Rice,
    US

    national security adviser

    "We believe that the Israelis should live up to their obligations under the roadmap ... And we've been very clear that settlement expansion is not consistent with our understanding under the road map," Rice said in a speech at the US Institute of Peace in Washington.

    But despite such statements, US acceptance of settlement growth has been tacit for months, an unnamed Israeli official said.

    "An Israeli official asserted that for some time, it was understood in Israel and in Washington that settlements could in effect expand vertically, within already dense construction areas, but not in an outer direction, and that the Americans understood this," the paper said.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.