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Business News/ News / World/  US ‘firmly’ opposes Israel's West Bank settlement plans: Blinken says ‘inconsistent with international law’
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US ‘firmly’ opposes Israel's West Bank settlement plans: Blinken says ‘inconsistent with international law’

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken criticizes Israel's new settlements in West Bank, citing counterproductivity to peace efforts and breach of international law.

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken criticizes Israel's new settlements in West Bank (Bloomberg)Premium
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken criticizes Israel's new settlements in West Bank (Bloomberg)

The Biden administration, on Friday, declared that Israel's expansion of settlements in the West Bank violates international law and the US was “disappointed" to hear of the Israeli announcement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while speaking at a news conference during a trip to Buenos Aires, said, “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."

The comments reversed the Trump administration's position that settlements did not violate international law.

Israel plans to build 3,300 new settlement in West Bank

Israel on Thursday said that it plans to build more than 3,300 new homes in settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The announcement came after three Palestinian gunmen opened fire on cars near the Maale Adumim settlement, killing one Israeli and wounding five.

Israel's finance minister, far-right firebrand Bezalel Smotrich said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant participated in the discussion. The decision will put in motion approval processes for 300 new homes in the Kedar settlement and 2,350 in Maale Adumim. It will also advance previously approved construction of nearly 700 homes in Efrat.

“The serious attack on Ma’ale Adumim must have a determined security response but also a settlement response," Smotrich wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our hold all over the country."

 However, the announcement drew an angry response from the U.S. at a time of growing tensions over the course of Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the administration was "simply reaffirming the fundamental conclusion on the issue."

Kirby was asked why the administration waited three years to make this change. "We thought that at this moment, it was particularly important to reaffirm our commitment to a two-state solution," he responded. "And at this moment, we felt it was particularly important to reaffirm again our view of the inconsistency with international law that the settlements present."

(With inputs from Reuters and AP)

 

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Published: 24 Feb 2024, 06:17 AM IST
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