U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ about plan to relocate Israeli outpost to Palestinian land

JERUSALEM, Aug. 15 (UPI) — The United States said it is “deeply concerned” about reports Israel plans to relocate the Israeli settlement of Amona to Palestinian land in the West Bank.

After the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to demolish the Amona illegal Israeli settlement by the end of the year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu’s administration suggested it would be relocated to West Bank land “abandoned” by Palestinians after the Six-Day War in 1967. About 40 families would be moved to the nearby site.

U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the move would be “unprecedented and troubling.”

“We’re deeply concerned by reports that the Israeli government has begun the process to take over privately owned Palestinian land to relocate the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona,” Trudeau said Thursday. “This would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that’s inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinions and counter to longstanding Israeli policy to not seize private Palestinian land for Israeli settlements.”

Trudeau said if the plan occurred, it would “effectively create a new settlement” or “significantly expand” an existing Israeli settlement, adding that such actions threaten a two-state solution.

“This is a continuation of a process that has seen some 32 outposts that are illegal under Israeli law being legalized in recent years,” Trudeau said. “This is a number of trends … that are threatening the two-state solution. Those trends also, though, include Palestinian incitement.”

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