Israel Announces New West Bank Settlement Expansion in Defiance of White House

by | Feb 29, 2024

Israel Announces New West Bank Settlement Expansion in Defiance of White House

by | Feb 29, 2024

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Israel approved the building of 3,600 Israeli homes in a new West Bank settlement. The announcement came just days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared the settlements were inconsistent with international law. Tel Aviv routinely ignores Washington’s requests to curtail its oppressive treatment of Palestinians without an impact on the billions in aid the US provides to Israel each year. 

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich approved the new Jewish homes on Palestinian land south of Jerusalem on Tuesday. “We will continue the momentum of settlement throughout the country,” he said. Smotrich has denied the existence of the Palestinian people and called for the segregation of maternity wards. 

The approval of the settlement is a snub to the White House, as last week Blinken reinstated a pre-Donald Trump policy of viewing Israeli settlements in the West Bank as 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 diplomat said. Blinken added that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law “and “counterproductive to reaching enduring peace.”

In addition to building new Jewish homes, Tel Aviv has also been destroying Palestinian homes. Israel has destroyed nearly 100 Palestinian homes since October 7—Tel Aviv bills Palestinians for the cost of destroying their homes. 

Last week, Smotrich explained the policy was to punish the Palestinians, “Our enemies should know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our hold all over the country.” Collective punishment, settlement building, and military occupation are all violations of international law. 

President Joe Biden, who claims his foreign policy is centered on respect for the liberal international order, has still refused to curtail US support for Israel or even condemn Tel Aviv’s many flagrant violations of humanitarian law. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin told Congress that the US has shipped Israel over 20,000 bombs since October 7. 

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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