EU and US Threaten Israel over Construction – AgainAfter announcing plans to build 450 homes in several building projects in Judea and Samaria, Israel was warned by the US and the European Union (EU) not to proceed. The EU and US claim that the building plans would further hinder the already shaky prospects for a peace agreement. On Friday Jerusalem announced plans to build 156 housing units in Elkana, Samaria; 114 homes in Geva Binyamin (also known as Adam), five kilometers northwest of Jerusalem; 102 in Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron, and 78 in Alfei Menashe, Samaria.  The EU considers the housing units to be an “obstacle to peace,” claiming that they would “undermine the viability of the two-state solution.” “Israel should reverse these decisions, thereby putting an end to settlement expansion,” the EU stated, claiming that building housing for the residents would be “inflaming the very tense situation on the ground.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declared: “I can tell you that issuing tenders like this does nothing to bolster Israel’s security, does not increase its prosperity and does not further the cause for peace. In fact it does precisely the opposite.” The US views the housing plans as “illegitimate and counterproductive,” and carrying out the construction would have “detrimental impacts on the ground” and “further isolate the Israelis internationally,” Earnest threatened. The New York Times quotes Ariel Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Israeli Housing Ministry, as explaining that the plans were not new but had been re-marketed after failing to attract contractors last year. “Failed tenders are automatically remarketed by professional staff in the Israel Land Authority,” he said, referring to the government agency responsible for land management. More