American UN Envoy Meets Gantz, Urges Israel to Avoid Settlement Expansion

The statements given by the ambassador are more specific than those given over the past several months, as they specifically single out settlements and evictions as undermining of the two-state solution

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield in Israel, on Tuesday
Defense Minister Benny Gantz with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield in Israel, on TuesdayCredit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – As part of her tour of Israel, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield met Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday and urged Israel to avoid unilateral actions that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution.

During their meeting, the ambassador highlighted settlement activity and home evictions as two such actions for Israel to avoid in order to lower tensions with Palestinians.

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A readout of the meeting reveals statements more specific than similar ones given over the past several months, and comes weeks after the Biden administration gave its firmest public rebuke of Israeli policy since taking office over Israel's plans to advance housing units in Israeli settlements. State Department spokesperson Ned Price noted at the time that America's "public messaging on this is consistent with what we are seeing transpire so far. It only stands to reason that our public messaging may shift over time."

Meanwhile, Israel's Supreme Court is mulling over the appeal of an eviction order filed by a group of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The residents recently rejected a proposed compromise that would have allowed them to remain in their homes for at least 15 years, in exchange for recognizing the ownership interests of a settler group to which they would have paid nominal rent.

The statement also noted how the two officials "addressed the importance of Sudan's returning to a civilian-led transition." According to Israeli officials, the U.S. has already asked Israel to use its ties with Sudan's military to quell tensions in the aftermath of the attempted military coup.

Over the past year, Israel had been working to advance its relationship with Sudan, which had remained relatively underdeveloped in comparison to those with other members of the accords, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Thomas-Greenfield has also met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and President Isaac Herzog during her trip. She discussed anti-Israel bias at the UN, Iran's regional activity and challenges posed by China, commitments to combating antisemitism, Israel's donations of COVID vaccines, and commitments to strengthening Israel's normalization pacts with Arab states.

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