A U.S. Administration source said Thursday that State Department official Constance Mayer could head an American team of experts formed to supervise the delineation of the construction boundary line in Israeli West bank settlements.
Mayer and the American team are expected to arrive in Israel in few days to assist U.S. Ambassador Dan Kurtzer in his talks with Israeli defense minister’s adviser Baruch Spiegel on demarcating the settlements’ boundaries.
Mayer is a senior Middle East analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). He also served in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.
State Department spokespeople emphasized that the team was formed to counter claims that the administration had given its consent to additional construction in the settlements.
Israel agreed to demarcate construction lines in settlements together with American officials, but demanded that the demarcation excludes major West bank settlement blocks.
Early Thursday morning, U.S. sources denied reports that administration will tolerate additional construction in settlements.
Yet, various Israeli government ministries have already begun implementing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policy of strengthening the large settlement blocs.
Reports indicate that Extensive construction is under way in many west bank settlements, including Upper Modi’in, Oranit, Ma’aleh Adumim, Gilo, Har Homa, Har Gilo, and Upper Betar.
The Israeli government claims that newly approved constructions are limited to major settlement blocks and the ones close to the seam line.
Construction in other settlements is said to be based on a two years old governmental approval.
In Upper Modi’in, which accommodates 27,000 settlers, 1,200 new housing units go on the market every year; 6,000 units are now being built and the plan is for 150,000 residents eventually.
As well In Upper Betar, with a similar population to Upper ModiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢in, construction is continuing and the settlement is planned for a total of 100,000.
Ma’aleh Adumim, is planning to almost double its population arriving at 45,000 in another two years; few days ago the Housing Ministry approved the construction of another 600 new units.
With the existing wide scale construction in settlements, the U.S. denial already lost any meaning.