State Department Uses Memory of Shimon Peres to Criticize West Bank Jewish Construction Plans

In this handout photo provided by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO), U.S President Barack Obama touches the coffin of Shimon Peres September 30, 2016 in Jerusalem, Israel. World leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries attended the state funeral of Israel's ninth president, Shimon Peres, in Jerusalem on Friday.
Washington D.C. — The State Department on Wednesday used the memory of late Israeli President Shimon Peres to condemn an Israeli government decision to build new Jewish homes in the strategic West Bank. The construction plans include a new neighborhood of 98 homes for the already existing settlement of Shiloh, a city with biblical significance in Judaism and the Torah.  The neighborhood is part of a larger contingent of 300 new homes to be attached to the Shiloh settlement. Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesperson, slammed the Jewish construction approval in a harshly worded statement that invoked Peres, a staunch supporter of the so-called two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state. The statement reads: “We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank. “Proceeding with this new settlement, which could include up to 300 units, would further damage the prospects for a two state solution. The retroactive authorization of nearby illegal outposts, or redrawing of local settlement boundaries, does not change the fact that this approval contradicts previous public statements by the Government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new