(CNN) — The US State Department said its country is “deeply disturbed” by the revocation of an Israeli law banning settlements in the northern West Bank.
“The United States strongly urges Israel to refrain from allowing the return of settlers to the area covered by the legislation consistent with the commitment of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the current Israeli government to the United States,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel.
Patel reiterated the US position that “proceeding with the establishment of settlements is an obstacle to peace and achieving the two-state solution.”
“At a time of heightened tensions, the legislative changes announced today are provocative and counterproductive to efforts to restore some measures of calm as we approach Ramadan, Passover and Easter,” he said.
The Israeli parliament (the Knesset) had repealed, at midnight, as settlers celebrated outside parliament, the disengagement law of 2005, passed when Israel unilaterally withdrew and evacuated Israeli settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank around Jenin and Nablus, and those areas became military zones, The Israelis have been denied entry, but settlers have been trying for years to illegally re-establish some communities in the northern West Bank, where some 10,000 settlers live.
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