WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Wednesday released the following statement:

“The Israeli government’s move to advance nearly 10,000 new settlement homes and legalize nine outposts in the West Bank is deeply concerning. Unilateral decisions like these make a negotiated two-state future more and more difficult to achieve and undercut prospects for a just and lasting peace with the Palestinians. Moreover, under the new coalition government, this appears to be just the beginning of a policy of unprecedented expansion of settlements explicitly intended to expand Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. I am worried that the implementation of these extreme policies will make it increasingly difficult to maintain the broad bipartisan consensus that has sustained Israel’s security for over 70 years. With tensions in the region ratcheting up over the last several weeks, Israeli and Palestinian political leaders must urgently work to de-escalate and refrain from taking actions like these that further exacerbate the situation.”