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US Says Israeli Settlements 'Inconsistent' With International Law, Rolling Back 'Pompeo Doctrine'

23.02.2024 22:57

'New settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace,' says Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Israel's Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank are in contravention of international law, the Biden administration said Friday in a break with ex-President Donald Trump's reversal of long-standing US policy.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is "disappointed" by the Israeli government's announcement that it would build 3,300 more new settlements, in the occupied Palestinian territory, re-establishing the US understanding that they are illegal under international law.

"It's been long standing US policy, under Republican or Democratic administrations, that new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace. They're also inconsistent with international law," the top US diplomat said during a press conference with Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"They're also inconsistent with international law. Our administration maintains a firm opposition to settlement expansion. And in our judgement, this only weakens – it doesn't strengthen – Israel's security," added Blinken.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government, which is comprised heavily of leaders within the settler movement, have accelerated the construction of settlements across the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said on Friday that the relevant committee is expected to meet within two weeks to approve the establishment of 2,350 housing units in the Maaleh Adumim settlement, about 300 in the Kedar settlement, and 700 units in the Efrat settlement.

The decision comes in response to the shooting attack on Thursday near the Maaleh Adumim settlement, which resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier and the wounding of at least eight others.

Blinken also said that this was "another horrific terrorist attack," adding that the US will continue to "fully support" Israel's right to security and self-defense.

What is the Pompeo doctrine?

US administrations, regardless of political party, had long held that any Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories was inconsistent with international law.

But Trump's former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, rolled back that understanding in what is now known as the "Pompeo doctrine." The position nixed decades of US policy, saying that the settlements do not violate international law.

The White House sought to simultaneously downplay the break with the Trump administration while also saying that it was their predecessor's government that was out of step with the vast majority of previous governments.

"This isn't about the previous administration. We are simply reaffirming the fundamental conclusion that these settlements are inconsistent with international law," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

"That is a position that's been consistent over a range of Republican and Democratic administrations. If there is an administration that is being inconsistent, it was the previous one," he said. -

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