US “Strong” Criticizes Israel over West Bank Settlement

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Joe Biden and Naftali Bennett, here at the White House in Washington, August 27, 2021.

UNITED STATES – Joe Biden’s United States has for the first time clearly spoken out against Israel on settlement, “firmly” criticizing the announcement of the construction of more than 1,000 new homes in the occupied West Bank.

“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government’s plan,” US diplomacy spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday, October 26.

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is totally contrary to efforts to lower tensions and guarantee calm, and which undermines the prospects for a two-state solution” Israeli and Palestinian, he added.

The Jewish state on Sunday announced the planned construction of 1,355 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, territory occupied by Israel since 1967, a decision denounced by the Palestinians.

These new homes are to be added to the 2,000 or so announced in August by the authorities, which were to obtain a final green light from the Ministry of Defense this week.

“The strengthening of the Jewish presence (in the West Bank) is essential in the Zionist vision,” said Construction Minister Zeev Elkin, a member of the right-wing New Hope party, which is part of the government coalition led by Naftali Bennett.

“We also believe that any effort to retroactively legalize illegal settlements is unacceptable,” Ned Price reacted in Washington, assuring that senior American officials had communicated these positions “directly” to their Israeli counterparts.

This is one of the strongest positions taken by the United States on Israeli colonization in the Palestinian territories since the arrival of President Joe Biden to the White House earlier this year.

Biden government officially opposed to colonization

His predecessor Donald Trump, who had stepped up his gestures towards Israel and its Prime Minister at the time, his “friend” Benjamin Netanyahu, had adopted a much more understanding position.

Its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even modified American doctrine in 2019, saying that Washington no longer considered the settlements to be contrary to international law, a decision celebrated by Israel but denounced by the Palestinians.

He had also become last November, after the defeat of Donald Trump in the presidential election, the first American diplomat to visit a colony in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlement boomed, under the leadership of “Bibi” Netanyahu, during the Trump era.

The Biden government, officially opposed to colonization, has been cautious in recent months, mostly confining itself to calling on Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from any “unilateral” measures that might fuel tensions, including in matters of colonization.

The Democratic team now seems to be moving closer to the position of former President Barack Obama who, at the end of his term in 2016, allowed the adoption of a historic UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

These settlements installed in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 are in fact deemed illegal by the United Nations, and a large part of the international community sees them as a major obstacle to peace.

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Source: Le Huffington Post by www.huffingtonpost.fr.

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