An Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank poses next to a car with the Israeli flag flying over it during a protest against the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on July 26, 2016.
(Yaron Bunch/Reuters) The Israeli military’s decision to deploy a missile defense battery in the Palestinian territories this week was seen by many as a sign that the U.N. Security Council was ready to move forward with a peace deal, even as the Obama administration remained steadfast in its opposition.
But Israel also sees the deployment as a clear attempt to further isolate the Palestinians from the rest of the world.
The United States has not taken a position on the deployment, but the White House has not said anything publicly to explain its position.
In a statement, the State Department said the deployment was a necessary step to enhance Israel’s ability to defend itself against a broad array of threats.
“The United State remains committed to a two-state solution for Israel, including a secure and recognized Palestinian state,” the statement said.
“The United Kingdom remains committed not to move toward a Palestinian state in any manner, shape or form,” the department said.
The announcement came on the same day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington and spoke with President Donald Trump.
It comes after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution Monday calling on the Israeli government to halt its military campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a move that the Obama White House said was a “step toward a two state solution.”
The Obama administration had been under pressure to take a hard line against the Israeli military, and to move quickly toward a peace accord with the Palestinians, even though it has been unable to bring itself to make such a statement publicly.
The U.K. is the only other country to officially support the U,S.
stance, and it abstained from the vote.
The White House also faced criticism from Netanyahu, who accused Obama of abandoning the peace process by not calling off the military campaign against the Gaza Strip, where Israel is fighting the Hamas movement.
Netanyahu had made similar statements on several occasions during his visits to Washington and Israel.