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White House and State Department Slam New West Bank Settlement Tenders

The White House and the State Department criticized Israel for reissuing tenders for the construction of 450 housing units in the West Bank.

The tender announcement will “further isolate Israel internationally,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at Friday’s press briefing.

“We believe that settlements are illegitimate and are counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome,” Psaki said. “We have deep concerns about these highly contentious construction announcements. They will have detrimental effects on the ground, inflame already heightened tensions with the Palestinians and further isolate Israel internationally.”

Israel’s Housing Ministry again published the tenders on Friday, triggering condemnations by Palestinian officials and protests by Israelis opposed to construction beyond Israel’s 1967 borders.

“I can tell you that issuing tenders like this does nothing to bolster Israel’s security, it does not increase its prosperity and it does not further the cause of peace,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday. “In fact it does precisely the opposite.”

The Adam and Elkana settlements accounted for a combined 260 of the apartments, with another 102 to be built in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron. The remaining 78 units, Israel Radio reported, are to be built in Alfei Menashe.

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