U.S. Senator Feinstein Slams Israel on New Settlement: 'Netanyahu Not Serious About Two States'

Democrat Dianne Feinstein warns of 'grave' situation in West Bank following Israeli government's approval for the construction of a new settlement for the first time in 20 years.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) adjusts her glasses during a press conference on Capitol Hill about a bill meant to combat sexual abuse of young athletes March 28, 2017 in Washington,DC.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

WASHINGTON - Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday for the Israeli cabinet's decision to approve the building of a new West Bank settlement. This decision, Feinstein said on Thursday, "demonstrates once again Netanyahu's not serious about a two-state solution for peace." 

She added that "recently, he has allowed the expansion of existing settlements, supported retroactively legalizing Israeli outposts built on private Palestinian land, demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes and is now pushing new settlements." 

Feinstein, who is one of the Senate's most outspoken members when it comes to supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warned in a statement that "the situation in the West Bank is grave. There are nearly 400,000 settlers on 129 official settlements directly supported by the Israeli government. The vast majority of these settlements are to the east of the separation barrier, scattered through the West Bank, making it impossible to create a contiguous Palestinian state." 

Feinstein added that "Netanyahu's continued expansion of settlements and outposts does not secure Israel, it perpetuates continued conflict with the Palestinians." 

The government approval for the creation of a new settlement is the first in over 20 years and is, in part, meant to house those evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona in February.

Though the Trump administration objects to establishing any new settlements, Netanyahu told the White House in advance that he intended to keep his promise, saying that politically speaking, it was impossible for him to renege on it.

A senior White House official told Haaretz Netanyahu also planning to adopt a new policy on the settlements from here on out that would take Trump's concerns into account.

Though the physical establishment of the settlement on the ground is expected to take some time, a complex of temporary structures is to be place on the site sometime in the near future.