WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is “concerned” about Israel’s demolition of Arab buildings in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, a State Department spokeswoman said on Friday, adding that it raised questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state political solution to the Palestinian conflict.
Israeli forces bulldozed a school in the Bedouin village of Khirbet Tana in the West Bank early in March, leaving 23 children with nowhere to study in the community overlooking the Jordan valley. The school had been built by the European Union in an effort to help the community of about 40 families.
After destroying the school, the Israeli forces returned two weeks later and demolished 17 homes, 21 pens for sheep, goats and chickens, and five outhouses, according to B‘tselem, an Israeli nongovernmental organization.
“These actions are indicative of a damaging trend of demolitions, displacement and land confiscation,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a State Department briefing.
She said Washington was “concerned” and the demolitions, coupled with continuing Israeli construction and settlement activity “undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.”
“They also call into question the Israeli government’s commitment to that two-state solution,” Trudeau said.
The State Department previously made similar comments.
So far this year, Israeli forces have destroyed or dismantled around 400 homes and other structures across the West Bank, more than in the whole of 2015.
Israeli forces also confiscated 579 acres (234 hectares) of Palestinian land near the city of Jericho in the West Bank, a step the State Department also criticized.
Reporting by David Alexander; editing by Grant McCool