Settlement Expansion ‘Inconsistent with Intl. Law’ – Blinken Reverses ‘Pompeo Doctrine’

Blinken said settlement expansion is inconsistent with international law. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s announcement that Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank is “inconsistent with international law”,  is a reversal of the Trump administration’s position that overturned decades of US policy on the issue.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank is “inconsistent with international law.”

The announcement is a reversal of the Trump administration’s position on the settlements that had overturned decades of US policy on the issue.  

“Our administration maintains firm opposition to settlement expansion,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Buenos Aires on Friday. “In our judgment, this only weakens – doesn’t strengthen — Israel’s security.”

Blinken said the US is “disappointed” by the Israeli government’s announcement on Thursday that it would build 3,300 more new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. 

“It’s been long-standing US policy, under Republican or Democratic administrations alike, that new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace. They’re also inconsistent with international law,” Blinken reportedly said.

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Pompeo Doctrine

Blinken’s announcement reverses what has been known as the “Pompeo doctrine.” 

In 2019, Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced that Washington no longer viewed Israel’s settlements on West Bank land as “inconsistent with international law.”

Previous US administrations had long held that any Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories was inconsistent with international law.

Anadolu reports that the White House sought to simultaneously downplay the break with the Trump administration while also saying that it was their predecessor’s government that was out of step with the vast majority of previous governments.

“This isn’t about the previous administration. We are simply reaffirming the fundamental conclusion that these settlements are inconsistent with international law,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reportedly said.

“That is a position that’s been consistent over a range of Republican and Democratic administrations. If there is an administration that is being inconsistent, it was the previous one,” he is quoted as saying. 

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Largest Settlement Decision  

According to Anadolu, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) said on Friday that the relevant committee is expected to meet within two weeks to approve the establishment of 2,350 housing units in the Maaleh Adumim settlement, about 300 in the Kedar settlement, and 700 units in the Efrat settlement.

If the settlement project is approved, it will be the largest settlement decision since the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7, the report adds.  

The decision comes in response to the shooting operation on Thursday near the Maale Adumim settlement, which resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier and the wounding of at least eight others, the report stated. 

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip following the October 7 resistance operation. 

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 400 Palestinians have since been killed and 4,400 others injured by Israeli army fire in the occupied territory. 

(PC, Anadolu) 

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