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Israel plans 3,000 new settlement homes in West Bank

The US has condemned the plan as ‘inconsistent with international law’, taking a harder line than previously.
TJI Wrap
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Buildings with a fence around them

Ma’ale Adumin settlement is to be expanded (Websthatsell/Flickr)

Published: 27 February 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

The US has condemned the plan as ‘inconsistent with international law’, taking a harder line than previously.

The plan was announced in the wake of a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim on Thursday. One person was killed and 10 others were wounded in the shooting.  

Immediately after the attack Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the far-right Religious Zionism party, announced the state will submit plans for the construction of 2,350 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim, 300 in Keidar and 694 in Efrat.

The Biden administration on Friday restored a historic US policy deeming settlements inconsistent with international law, rejecting a stance implemented by the former administration, hours after Israel announced a plan to advance the construction of thousands of new settlement homes in response to a terror shooting in the West Bank.

“We’ve seen the reports and I have to say we’re disappointed in the announcement,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in response to a question on the matter during a press conference in Argentina.

“It’s been long-standing US policy under Republican and Democratic administrations alike that new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace.”

“They’re also inconsistent with international law,” he continued, effectively revoking the 2019 policy implemented by Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which took a more neutral, if not supportive, view of Israel’s presence beyond the Green Line.

“Our administration maintains firm opposition to settlement expansion and in our judgment, this only weakens — doesn’t strengthen — Israel’s security,” Blinken added.

Thursday’s attack set off more skirmishes between West Bank settlers and Palestinians. On Friday, a herd of 250 goats was stolen and taken to the illegal Hava outpost.

When Israeli soldiers attempted to enter the settlement to retrieve the goats on Saturday they were attacked by the settlers. Some settlers were recorded shouting: "Why are there Arabs here?" and "We will not allow Arabs to enter the outpost."

The US has recently taken a hardline against extremist settlers, introducing sanctions and visa bans against four settlers known for violence.  

Some American supporters have responded by raising money to support the extremists, in breach of American sanctions law.

The Palestinian Authority is under growing pressure to improve its governance in the hope that it could play an effective role in governing both the West Bank and Gaza after the war.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh submitted his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday saying, that “the next step is the need for a new arrangement that will ensure [Palestinian] unity.


Israel planning 3,000 new settlement homes in response to fatal terror attack (Haaretz)

US revives policy deeming settlements illegal, pans Israel’s plan for 3,000 new homes (Times of Israel)

Settlers attack Israeli soldiers helping Palestinian shepherds look for stolen goats (Haaretz)

US fundraisers for violent West Bank settlers raise thousands, despite sanctions (Times of Israel)

Settlers and army blocking West Bank roads to Palestinians (+972 Magazine)

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns from position (Jerusalem Post)


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