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Blinken says Israel new settlements in West Bank ‘inconsistent’ with international law

February 23, 2024 at 6:34 pm

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference after the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on November 29, 2023 [Dursun Aydemir – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s expansion of settlements in the Occupied West Bank were inconsistent with international law, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Friday, signalling a return to long-standing US policy on the issue, which had been reversed by the previous administration of Donald Trump, Reuters reports.

The Trump administration, in 2019, effectively backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held US position that they were “inconsistent with international law”.

Speaking at a news conference during a trip to Buenos Aires, Blinken said the United States was disappointed in Israel’s announcement of plans for building new housing in the Occupied West Bank, saying they were counter-productive to reaching an enduring peace.

“They’re also inconsistent with international law. Our administration maintains a firm opposition to settlement expansion and, in our judgment, this only weakens, doesn’t strengthen Israel’s security,” Blinken said.

In November 2019, Trump’s then Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that Washington no longer viewed Israel’s settlements on West Bank land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war as “inconsistent with international law”, a reversal of four decades of US policy.

Palestinians and the international community view the transfer of any country’s civilians to Occupied land as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and UN Security Council resolutions. Many countries condemned the announcement.

READ: ‘Unprecedented surge’ in settlement activity in West Bank since war on Gaza