J Street welcomes today’s clear statement from the US State Department condemning ongoing Israeli settlement expansion and opposing plans to advance thousands of new settlement units throughout the West Bank.
Prime Minister Bennett and his allies have continued to push forward with highly destructive policies of settlement expansion, de facto annexation and the displacement of Palestinian communities — all of which trample on Palestinian rights and international law, and make it much more difficult to peacefully resolve the conflict through the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Building thousands of settlement units, pushing forward with evictions in East Jerusalem and failing to stop a surge in settler violence against Palestinians is not “shrinking the conflict” — it’s deepening the occupation.
These policies — which some members of Israel’s governing coalition strongly oppose — are disastrous for Israel’s future and deeply harmful to US interests.
Recent years have proven that without determined, outspoken pushback from the United States, these unilateral moves are likely to continue unabated. That’s why J Street continues to call for bold, public American opposition to destructive Israeli and Palestinian policies and for intensive leadership to stop the unchecked slide toward one state and permanent occupation.
Moving forward, we hope that the Biden Administration will follow on today’s statement by taking additional, critical steps, like those proposed in the recently-introduced Two-State Solution Act, which has attracted mounting support from Congressional Democrats. Such steps should include reversing all of the harmful pro-settlement steps taken by the Trump administration, making absolutely clear that the US considers settlements inconsistent with international law, and taking steps to ensure US arms and aid can’t be used to expand settlements or exercise permanent control over occupied territory.