US ambassador calls on Gantz to stop settlement activities

New Jewish settler units under construction on the outskirts of the Ramat Shlomo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  November 17, 2021

The US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday and urged him to stop settlement activities. Thomas-Greenfield also pledged to replenish the occupation state’s Iron Dome missile defence system. “We will support Israel’s ability to defend itself,” The Times of Israel reported her as saying.

According to the US Department of State, the ambassador used her meeting with Gantz to highlight settlement activity in the occupied West Bank as well as the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in occupied Jerusalem.

She urged the former general to avoid taking steps that undermine prospects for a two-state solution. Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements are viewed as an obstacle to such a solution, as are well-publicized evictions.

The Times of Israel said that Israel has advanced plans for roughly 3,000 additional settlement units in the occupied West Bank for the first time since Biden entered office. It is this which concerns Washington.

The issue of Palestinian evictions has been a thorn in the side of bilateral relations for months. The US has warned Israel against evicting residents from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in occupied Jerusalem.

Thomas-Greenfield also discussed the expansion of the so-called Abraham Accords, and the need to reduce tension between Israelis and Palestinians.