Washington denies ignoring the settlement threat and calls for an end to unilateral actions

The official spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, said that the administration of US President Joe Biden does not stand silent about the expansion of settlements, but rather has expressed its objection to the settlement projects that threaten the realization of the two-state solution.

Price said in response to a question asked by Jerusalem, Friday, regarding the Israeli occupation’s development of thousands of housing units in occupied East Jerusalem, which will lead to the separation of occupied Jerusalem from the occupied city of Bethlehem, and the American administration’s “deafening silence” in its stance towards these settlement actions. Seriously, “This is not true. This is an issue that we talk about and raise at every opportunity. We have talked about this issue during the past 24 hours, about our position on the settlements.”

Price added, “Just to reiterate, we believe it is critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and, crucially, undermine efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution. We have been very clear that this includes settlement activity.”

And on the violent settlement aggression against Palestinian citizens who harvest their olive trees, under the protection of the Israeli occupation army, and why the United States does not demand that Israel desist from these aggressions, which are getting more and more vicious every year, Price said, “Similarly, when it comes to the destruction of property that I spoke to and the aggression that I spoke to, we similarly believe, once again, that it is critical that all parties refrain from steps that exacerbate tensions and undermine those efforts that will help us reach a two-state solution. This also includes the destruction of property and violence against civilians. We have been consistently clear on those fronts.”

During the past week, Israeli settlers committed daily violent attacks on Palestinian villages and residents picking olive trees.

The attacks, which included hitting farmers and destroying trees, preceded the official start of the olive harvest season on October 12 in the occupied West Bank, but they increased in number over the past week.

Local observers indicated that the most targeted areas were in the north of the occupied West Bank and the vicinity of villages south of the city of Nablus and Salfit. Followers of these settlement attacks in the northern occupied West Bank recorded 58 attacks since the beginning of the season, including nine on Burin village, south of Nablus alone.

Olive picking is a major economic, familial and social activity for many Palestinians, who take days off from work to take care of their land or the land of their relatives, neighbors or friends. Between 80,000 and 100,000 families depend on olives and olive oil as primary or secondary sources of income.

While settler attacks are a frequent and almost daily reality of Palestinian villages, the number and intensity of attacks increases during the olive picking season that lasts until November, when settlers target families who work on their lands.

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