WH Accuses Israel of Poisoning the 'Atmosphere'

WH Accuses Israel of Poisoning the 'Atmosphere'

Wednesday at the White House daily briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest was “deeply concerned” about the announcement today by Israeli officials that new settlements were being built in a “sensitive area of East Jerusalem,” saying it will “poison the atmosphere.”

Earnest said, “I can tell you that the United States is deeply concerned by reports that Israeli government has moved forward with the planning process in the sensitive area or in a sensitive area of East Jerusalem. The step is contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent agreement with the Palestinians and it would send a troubling message if they were to proceed with tenders or construction in that area.”

“This development will only draw condemnation for the international community and distance Israel from it’s closest allies and poison the atmosphere and not only with Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations.”

“It would call into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. The United States condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. This is near the Old City, by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda by definition stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. These provocative acts by the organization only serves to escalate tensions at a moment when those tensions have already been high. The final status of Jerusalem should not be prejudged and can only be legitimately determined through direct negotiations between the parties. At this sensitive time, we call on all parties to redouble their efforts to restore trust and confidence, promote calm and return to the path of peace. This did come up in the conversation.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN