US says Israeli settlements illegitimate

WASHNGTON – Israel’s approval for the construction of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegitimate, the U.S. said Friday.

Authorities in Israel on Friday approved the construction of 430 new settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and the decision sparked clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians. 

"We believe that settlements are illegitimate and are counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome," said Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman. "We have deep concerns about these highly contentious construction announcements."

She said that the settlements will have detrimental effects on the ground, inflaming already heightened tensions with Palestinians and further isolate Israel internationally.

International law considers the West Bank and East Jerusalem occupied territories captured by Israel in 1967, deeming all construction of Jewish settlements on the land illegal.

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