At today’s press briefing, Earnest said the following regarding Israel’s announced building of additional housing units in the West Bank. Note that Earnest is not speaking off the cuff, but is reading from a prepared statement:
Our position is that we believe that settlements are illegitimate and counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome. We have deep concern about these highly contentious settlement construction announcements. They will have detrimental impacts on the ground, inflame already heightened tensions with the Palestinians, and further isolate the Israelis internationally. The United States, as a close ally of Israel, uses our diplomatic influence around the globe to try to build support for Israel, and an announcement like this only serves to further isolate them. I can tell you that issuing tenders like this does nothing to bolster Israel’s security, does not increase its prosperity, and it does not further the cause for peace. In fact it does precisely the opposite.
Recall, the White House just sent a huge contingent to Saudi Arabia to honor the achievements of the deceased King, a remarkably accomplished human rights violator. He was honored, not rebuked for his atrocious treatment of women and of anyone else not Muslim. Israel is being rebuked by the White House for building homes.
If the settlements — in their entirety and not just in their expansion, as Earnest clearly states — are “illegitimate,” than the White House’s official position is that the West Bank is to be Judenrein.
Reports the Times of Israel:
The Housing Ministry told Israel Radio that the tenders in question had been issued in the past, and were renewed automatically since construction did not take place after its initial approval.
This implies that the White House statement was also deliberately misleading on the nature of the Israeli announcement.