May 29, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 29, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

US Denies ‘Unfounded’ Report of Sanctions vs. Israel

State Department and White House strongly deny contemplating slapping Israel with sanctions over settlements

i24news.tv/en/–The United States has strongly denied an “unfounded” report that the administration was mulling whether to impose sanctions on Israel, after it had raised hackles among US lawmakers.

“I can set the record straight and be clear that reports that we might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She spoke after the Israeli daily Haaretz last week said the White House was considering taking action against Israel to punish it for its continued settlement building.

The daily did not use the term “sanctions,” but quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official saying White House officials held a classified discussion a few weeks ago on “taking active measures against the settlements.”

Several steps including refraining from vetoing UN resolutions condemning Israel were discussed, the paper said. The Obama administration has consistently denounced the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem as a hurdle to any moves to reach a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians.

But despite increasing US frustration that the Israeli leadership has continued building settler homes, it has never put in place any consequences. Republicans angered by the Haaretz report had written to the White House to demand an explanation.

Members of Congress also reportedly wrote the White House and Secretary of State John Kerry demanding answers, after a series of exchanges between reporters and administration officials failed to clarify the situation. The White House and State Department tried to address the questions on Monday.

“Reports that [we] might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

Still, Earnest suggested that Israeli and administration officials had a recent conversation about the issue and acknowledged that “settlement activity” continues to be a matter of disagreement.

“We’ve made our views known very clearly about our frustration with Israel,” he said. “It’s clearly in the interest of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people to try to resolve differences. … The settlement activity is counterproductive.”

“We believe that those actions are counterproductive, that they don’t serve to facilitate the kind of trust that we believe is necessary for both sides to try to hammer out their differences in a way that is consistent with the national security concerns of the Israeli people and with the broader aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Earnest said.

But the press secretary said that, while the U.S. would continue to “criticize” such action, administration officials were not contemplating a sanctions regime.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles