US Reverses Trump Policy, Declares New Israeli Settlements in Palestine Illegal

BUENOS AIRES – The United States has declared that new Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, reversing the policy set forth by former President Donald Trump. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed disappointment over the announcement made by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, stating that the construction of over 3,300 new Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank goes against the goal of achieving lasting peace. Blinken emphasized that the international community, including both Democratic and Republican administrations, views new settlements as counterproductive and inconsistent with international law.

This starkly contrasts with the previous “Pompeo Doctrine,” which supported Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as legal. The US position had remained unchanged since 1978, when the Carter administration deemed Israeli settlements to be in violation of international law. Blinken’s stance emphasizes consistency across different administrations, highlighting the inconsistency of the previous one.

Germany, too, has condemned Israel’s plan to construct additional settler homes in the occupied West Bank. The deputy foreign ministry spokeswoman, Kathrin Deschauer, affirmed that Germany is against settlement construction, as it violates international law.

The new settlement plans were announced by Smotrich in response to what he called a “terrorist” attack. Three Palestinians opened fire near a checkpoint, resulting in the death of an Israeli and injuries to several others. The construction is set to take place in Ma’ale Adumim, Kedar, and Efrat, with support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers of the far-right Israeli administration. In addition to new settlements, these ministers have also called for increased restrictions on Palestinians.

Israel has consistently pursued the construction of new settlements despite ongoing attacks. The US and its allies have not exerted significant pressure to curb or reverse settlement expansion. The raids on Palestinian territories occupied by Israel have been a daily occurrence, growing deadlier as time goes on. In the Gaza Strip alone, over 29,500 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed by Israeli attacks since the start of the war.

The US government’s reversal on the legality of Israeli settlements sends a clear message that settlement expansion undermines Israel’s security and impedes the achievement of lasting peace. These developments reflect a shift in policy from the previous administration and may have broader implications for US relations with Israel and its allies in the region. The international community’s condemnation of Israel’s settlement construction further highlights the need for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.