JERUSALEM, March 14 (UPI) -- The United States expressed concern about an Israeli decision to build new West Bank settlement homes after the slaying of a family in Itamar.
A statement released by the U.S. State Department late Sunday said it views settlement building as "illegitimate" and running "counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations," Ynetnews.com reported Monday.
In response to the fatal stabbing of Udi and Ruth Fogel, their 3-month-old daughter Hadas and sons Elad, 3, and Yoav, 11, in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, the government's settlement committee Sunday approved the construction of 400 to 500 new homes in large West Bank settlement blocs.
A statement released by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said the ministerial committee decided to approve "measured building" of a few hundred housing units in Gush Etzion, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel and Modi'in Illite, The Jerusalem Post said Monday.
The housing units are part of projects halted by the government in various stages of planning in the past in an effort to coax the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table. The approved units include 48 units in Gush Etzion, 300 in Modi'in Illite and less than 100 units in Ariel and Ma'aleh Adumim, the newspaper said.
During a condolence visit with bereaved family members Sunday night, Netanyahu told the relatives: "They murder. We build," Ynetnews.com said.