US must pressure Israel to stop settlement expansion, Congress members say

View of the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumin, in the West Bank, February 25, 2016. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Middle East Monitor  /  November 23, 2021

Some 26 House Democrats yesterday urged US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pressure the Israeli government to refrain from settlement construction in “Area E1” between Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Led by Congressman Mark Pocan, who recently visited Israel and the West Bank, the lawmakers expressed their “immense concern” about Israeli efforts to advance approval of settlement expansion plans.

In their letter to Blinken, they highlighted how settlements entrench the occupation, undermine the prospects for a two-state solution, diminish the viability of a Palestinian state, and represent a violation of international law, Haaretz reported.

The lawmakers noted that there was a 28 per cent increase in settlement construction during the Trump administration, which is a stark departure from previous US administrations from both parties (Democratic and Republican).

They went on to describe Israel’s plans to advance the approval of 3,400 housing units in E1 as “an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peace solution.”