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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – The United States expressed surprise and concern Tuesday over a report that Israel is planning to build 20,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

“We are deeply concerned by this latest report,” said State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki. “We were surprised by this announcement and are currently seeking further explanation from the government of Israel.”

Psaki emphasized that Washington had not been briefed in advance by Israel about the settlement project.

She repeated the long-standing U.S. diplomatic position on settlements — a position reaffirmed last week during Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the Mideast — that “we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

Psaki said the United States has “called on both sides to take steps to create a positive atmosphere for the negotiations,” which, with Kerry’s mediation, re-launched in July.

The plans by the Israeli housing minister for a “record” 20,000 new settler homes, revealed by an Israeli watchdog, threaten the already faltering peace talks.

During his visit to the Mideast last week, Kerry rejected statements from Israeli leaders that the settlement announcements were in keeping with tacit “understandings” between the two sides linked to the release of 52 veteran Palestinian prisoners since August.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Medical experts have been fearing that a new COVID-19 variant would emerge that is even more infectious than the Delta variant, and a new mutation that has emerged in South Africa has some doctors expressing concerns. One of them is 80-year-old expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser. Fauci discussed this new South African variant, which is called B.1.1.529, during a Friday, November 26 appearance on CNN’s New Day.

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