Israel has rejected a US bid for a Canadian health center to provide health care for refugees from its occupied territories, a move that could complicate efforts to secure the construction of a new hospital in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli health ministry said on Tuesday that it would “exercise all possible measures” to prevent the construction from happening, which would mark the first time the government has rejected the US-backed bid to establish a medical facility in the West Bank under the auspices of the World Health Organization.
The ministry also said that it had informed the United States of the move.
The United States has proposed that Canada build a health center for refugees in the Jordan Valley, where Palestinians live under military rule, and that it will provide $1.6 billion to build it.
The Palestinians have objected to the project.US President Donald Trump in February signed an executive order directing the secretary of state to provide $400 million for the construction.
Israel has said that the US proposal would have limited impact on the construction schedule and that the Jordanian government had already approved the plans.
Israel’s right-wing government is seeking to build a new health facility for the refugees, who number in the thousands.
It has repeatedly threatened to use the threat of war to force the Palestinians to withdraw their demands for a land swap and an end to Israeli control over the West Banks, which are under full Israeli sovereignty.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Stephen O’Brien, has also raised the possibility that the Israeli government could use its occupation to stifle opposition.
Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to an end in violence during the current period, but the UN Security Council has not approved any peace agreement, and the two sides have been engaged in negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement.
The Palestinians, who control most of the West Wall and the Gaza Strip, rejected any Israeli plan to build on their territory and have called on Israel to return to negotiations.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian leaders have repeatedly said that if negotiations fail, Israel will impose its “ultimate solution” on the West.
The US-sponsored proposal to establish the medical center was approved by the US Senate in July, but was blocked in the House by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
In a statement on Tuesday, the White House said that President Donald J. Trump had expressed the desire to “expedite” the establishment of a Palestinian health center and was working with the Israeli and Palestinian governments to develop the proposal.
The announcement came as Israel faced growing criticism for failing to make any progress in negotiations with the Palestinians over the Palestinians’ demand that Israel return to the 1967 borders.
Palestinian officials have said that any new Israeli settlement would have to be built within the pre-1967 boundaries, which Israel maintains today.
The move by Israel could be seen as a significant blow to a deal that was struck last year in Geneva, when Israel, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Syria and the United Kingdom announced the establishment in 2020 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a framework for peace talks that aims to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The agreement calls for the Palestinians and Israel to withdraw from all territories occupied in the 1967 war.