U.S. criticizes Israeli West Bank land grab

Sep 02, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
Homefront Command members clean up rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

In a rare critique of its longtime ally, the United States called for Israel to halt its plan to seize land in the occupied West Bank.The response from Washington comes amid growing tensions between the two states.

Reuters notes: Reuters notes: Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared "state land, on the instructions of the political echelon" by the military-run Civil Administration on Sunday.

Haaretz reports: Since the decision was announced on Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has conducted several conversations with senior Israeli officials to express the administration’s displeasure. A senior U.S. official said Washington is also angry that “Israel didn’t update us in advance and surprised us with this decision.”