Settlement activity and annexation is inconsistent with Israel’s identity as a democracy, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday.
The US has opposed the “dynamic that we have seen in recent years, steps that include settlement activity… legalization [and] annexation,” Price said.
“The reason there is such opposition to that is that it is entirely inconsistent with what Israel is, it is entirely inconsistent with Israel’s identity as …a democratic Jewish state,” Price said.
He spoke hours after a major demonstration in Jerusalem against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan on Monday and after the security cabinet voted Sunday to create nine settlements.
US opposition to West Bank settlements
Price told reporters in Washington that the Biden administration had clarified to Israel its opposition to settlement activity such as the legalization of outposts.
“It is no surprise to our Israeli partners where we stand on this, we have made this very clear in private in very direct terms,” Price said.
He added that Israel’s regional partners and other global allies were worried as well, noting that the Biden administration was coordinating its opposition with those nations to protect a vision of two states.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “deeply troubled by Israel’s decision to legalize nine West Bank settlements and to advance 10,000 new settler homes.
“We strongly oppose such unilateral measures, which exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution,” Blinken said.
Blinken in a statement he published explained that ‘anything that takes us away from the vision of two states for two peoples is detrimental to Israel’s long-term security, its identity as a Jewish and democratic state.”
These actions are also harmful to the US “vision of equal measures of security, freedom, prosperity, and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he explained.
“We call on all parties to avoid additional actions that can further escalate tensions in the region and to take practical steps that can improve the well-being of the Palestinian people,” Blinken stated.
A senior Israeli official said, “we were not surprised by the US position. We have had differences of opinion for decades on this issue, even though we are not talking about new settlements but rather the regulation of settlements that have existed for many years, some of them for decades.
“These differences of opinion did not and will not harm the strong alliance between Israel and the US,” the official said.