Both the White House and Washington-based Jewish lobby groups have strongly condemned comments by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu about the building of more settlements.
Netanyahu said that opposing the building of more settlements is somehow un-American and seemed to be lecturing the Obama administration on American “values” – drawing a scathing response from Washington.
Last week Israel announced plans to build another 2,600 homes in the Yerushalayim suburb of Givat Hamatos and 25 apartments in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan were taken by settlers.
Speaking about Silwan, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the buildings had been grabbed “by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians” – apparently referring to the Elad Foundation.
Responding at a New York press briefing Netanyahu responded: “I have no intention of telling Jews they can’t buy apartments in East Jerusalem. This is private property and an individual right. There cannot be discrimination – not against Jews and not against Arabs,” before adding: “This goes against values that the United States also believes in.”
Briefing journalists at the White House this morning Josh Earnest said he found Netanyahu’s comments about “American values” a little odd.
“It did seem odd for him to defend Israel’s position by saying US position is un-American,” he said. “American values are why this country’s support for Israel has been unwavering.” Continuing with settlement construction would, he said, “send a troubling message” about Israel’s intentions in the region.
Read more at International Business Times.