Thu 29 Feb 2024 1:35 pm - Jerusalem Time

Washington: Settlement is an obstacle to peace and contravenes international law

The official spokesman for the US State Department, Matthew Miller, confirmed that the administration of US President Joe Biden adheres to its declared position that settlements and the settlement movement are inconsistent with international law, and that continuing to build settlements is not only inconsistent with the interests and security of the Palestinians, but also with the interests and security of the Israelis.

In response to journalists' questions regarding Israeli Finance Minister Smotrich's announcement last week that Israel would continue to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, Miller said, "My only response is that we will continue to deal very directly with the government of Israel, both privately and publicly, such that we believe its settlement program... "It represents an obstacle to peace and contravenes international law."

Regarding the failure of the United States government to pressure and influence Israel to dissuade it from settlement activity, which the United States describes as “inconsistent with international law,” Miller said: “First and foremost, I would like to say that the differences between the United States and Israel regarding settlements in the West Bank go back to "Way beyond the beginning of this administration. In fact, these disagreements go back decades, across multiple administrations of both parties in the United States and multiple governments in Israel. This is nothing new in terms of disagreement between the United States and Israel."

Miller added: “Of course, and on the broader issue, we will continue to make clear to them (the Israelis) that we believe the settlements are an obstacle to peace, and are inconsistent with international law. We will have this conversation with them in the context of the greater challenges that Israel faces and the greater opportunity that we are willing to offer.” them with Arab partners in the region.”

Miller explained: “We talked a lot about the work done by Secretary of State (Anthony Blinken) with countries in the region that want more integration with Israel, want to provide security guarantees to Israel, and want to overcome the existing conflicts between Israel and those countries. For decades, But they're going to need Israel to make some tough we'll continue to do that work and have those conversations with Israel. But, as I've said many times and as you've heard the Secretary say, ultimately, it's Israel that has to make those decisions and no one can "No one else has to do it on its behalf - neither the United States, nor anyone else."

Miller said in his response to a question from’s correspondent in Washington regarding the ability or desire of the United States, given the influence it possesses, to persuade Israel to retreat from the settlements that are eating away at the land designated for the establishment of a Palestinian state, according to the statements of the American administration. Miller said: “There is a mistaken belief that The United States is able to dictate its sovereign decisions to other countries. Israel makes its own sovereign decisions, and we make clear to them where we disagree with them. There are times when we express our differences in private; there are times when we express them publicly. And of course you saw individuals in Israel taking action, where we felt the need to hold them accountable.”

“So, with regard to extremist violence in the West Bank, we have made very clear that when we did not see the government of Israel taking action that we thought was sufficient, we were prepared to hold individuals accountable (settlers involved in violence against Palestinian citizens); and we are prepared to hold additional individuals accountable, if "That is appropriate. And that will remain the case."

When’s correspondent pointed out that the United States provides support worth four billion dollars annually, in addition to unlimited political support, as we saw at the United Nations last week, Miller replied: “We provide security assistance to Israel because we support Israel’s legitimate right to guarantee Never repeat the October 7 attacks again, to ensure Israel's legitimate right to protect itself from the terrorist organization, Hezbollah, which is in northern Israel and which continues to attack Israel, and has said it wants to, and is committed to destroying Israel. This is true. It is also true that there are things that the government of Israel does that we disagree with and express our differences with.”

“But this does not change our fundamental commitment to the security of Israel. And so I know that sometimes it is difficult for people to understand this, but we are committed to the security of Israel, and that is why we are taking measures to support their right to defend themselves in accordance with humanitarian law. But that does not mean that we agree with everything they do."

It is noteworthy that the Israeli occupation authorities are pushing to build a new settlement east of Bethlehem, in the south of the occupied West Bank, which includes more than 13,600 new settlement units to be built in two phases, in accordance with the decision issued by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in February 2023, to legalize 9 outposts. Settlement and construction of thousands of settlement units.

The commander of the Central Region of the Israeli occupation army, Yehuda Fuchs, signed an order specifying the jurisdiction of a new settlement north of the town of Al-Ubaidiya, east of Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank, according to what the Israeli “Peace Now” movement reported in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He indicated that "the settlement will include, in the first phase, 3,600 settlement units on a land area of 417 dunums east of Bethlehem, with 10,000 settlement units being established at a later stage."

He explained that this comes "in implementation of the government's decision in February 2023, to legalize 9 settlement outposts, including the 'Mitzpe Yehuda' settlement outpost." .


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Washington: Settlement is an obstacle to peace and contravenes international law