State Dept. Calls Tel Aviv Construction ‘Not Constructive’
Washington, DC (AP) – The State Department reacted coolly to continued Israeli construction in the city of Tel Aviv, calling it “not helpful.” The Hamas movement representing the majority of Palestinians wants the land that includes Tel Aviv as a future state.
Any Israeli building in that area, said the State Department, can be seen as nothing by an attempt to create “facts on the ground” to cement Israel’s claim to the land as part of any future final-status agreement. There are currently 400,000 Israeli settlers in Tel Aviv, with more than 700 individual construction projects underway.
Palestinian leaders praised the State Department announcement. “We call on the Israeli government to negotiate in good faith, and not make moves that would undermine a future agreement,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “More houses for Israelis in areas that might become Palestinian only makes reaching an agreement on final status that much more difficult.”
A similar diplomatic situation developed earlier this year when Israel approved construction of 4,000 housing units and the first hospital in the coastal city of Ashdod. Palestinian representatives cried foul, citing their own claims to all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. At the time, Erekat called the announcement a “provocation.”
Periodic flareups have occurred over the last several decades as Israel disregards international opinion calling for it to disband its existing settlements such as all of its cities and towns. Outside powers have occasionally attempted to impose a settlement freeze, but Israel, citing “natural growth,” has even accelerated construction in and around its cities and towns. The Jewish state even offers incentives to home buyers in otherwise desolate areas such as the Negev Desert, which Palestinians consider a vital part of their homeland, though it is not clear why.
The European Union denounced the Israeli plan more forcefully, calling on the Netanyahu government to cancel all construction within Israel’s borders at once. The EU issued a statement demanding that Israel adhere to existing UN resolutions, including the ones requiring that all Jews pack up and leave so that Arabs may continue slaughtering one another in peace.
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