Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

US summons Israeli ambassador to criticise overturning of disengagement law

TJI Pick
Print this
P61J Featured Images 1703 (800 × 480 px) (2)

Published: 24 March 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

The US has also condemned anti-Palestinian statements by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who denied the existence of the Palestinian people.

The Biden administration summoned Israel's ambassador, Michael Herzog, to express its displeasure over a law that would allow illegal settlement outposts in key areas of the occupied West Bank that were evacuated in 2005.

On Tuesday, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman conveyed to Herzog the administration’s concern regarding the newly adopted legislation.

The State Department offered no other details on the conversation, but the Israeli press stressed that such a meeting is highly unusual between the two countries, reflecting a degradation of relations between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government.

State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Washington was “extremely troubled” by the new legislation, calling it “provocative” for violating commitments given to the US by two Israeli governments, under Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu's current one. “We call on Israel to refrain from allowing settlers to return to the area,” Patel said.

But on Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s office clarified that Israel will not establish new settlements in the northern West Bank

The statement issued by the PM’s office read, "The Knesset's decision to cancel parts of the disengagement law brings an end to discriminatory and humiliating legislation that prohibited Jews from living in the areas of northern Samaria, part of our historical homeland..
"The government has no intention of establishing new settlements in these areas."

The US also expressed concern about a statement by ultra-nationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that, “There’s no such thing as Palestinian a people.”

“Who was the first Palestinian king? What language do the Palestinians have? Was there ever a Palestinian currency? Is there a Palestinian history or culture? Nothing. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” Smotrich said in a speech in Paris.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday objected to the comments, saying they would not help to calm tensions in the region.

“We utterly object to that kind of language. And It’s extremely unhelpful to – again – trying to de-escalate the tensions and trying to find a viable two-state solution going forward,” Kirby told Israel’s Channel 13. “We don’t want to see any rhetoric, any action or rhetoric – quite frankly – that can stand in the way or become an obstacle to a viable two-state solution, and language like that does.”

The Palestinian Authority slammed Smotrich’s remarks as “racist,” calling them “an attempt to falsify history.”

In a statement, the PA asserted that the Palestinian people “have existed on this land forever.”

US summons Israeli ambassador as law restraining settlers rescinded (Al - Monitor)
After condemning anti-Palestinian statements by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the State Department slammed the Israeli government over rolling back parts of the 2005 disengagement law.

After strong US rebuke, PM says no plan for ‘new’ settlements in northern West Bank (Times of Israel)
Statement from Netanyahu’s office comes as Israeli envoy is summoned over Knesset’s repeal of part of Disengagement Law; not clear if commitment applies to Homesh outpost.

Israeli minister says there’s ‘no such thing as a Palestinian people,’ inviting US rebuke (CNN)
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby described the comments as “extremely unhelpful” and the PA called them “an attempt to falsify history”.

'There's no such thing as Palestinians': The ignorant bigotry of pro-Israel propagandists (Haaretz)
Israeli politicians like Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich persistently deny the existence of a Palestinian people but the historical record speaks for itself. Smotrich and pro-Israel US conservatives should listen.

Photo: An Israeli flag flies in the Jewish West Bank outpost of Homesh in 2022, 17 years after it was officially dismantled. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site