Sunday, February 25, 2024

  • Sunday, February 25, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the New York Times:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s reversal of Trump-era policy on settlements in the occupied West Bank reflects rising Biden administration frustration with Israel, but it is unlikely to dent the strong American backing for its ally’s military campaign in Gaza or pressure Israel to change course, analysts said on Saturday.

During a trip to Argentina on Friday, Mr. Blinken called the settlements “inconsistent with international law," a break with policy set under the Trump administration and a return to the decades-long U.S. position.

While Jimmy Carter didn't use the word "illegal" he did say they violated the Geneva Conventions, which is the same thing. His ambassador the the UN did call the settlements "illegal." But that was the last time this terminology was used by any administration.

Ronald Reagan said when he was campaigning for President and in an interview two weeks after he took office that the settlements are not illegal. Later in his presidency, he said that settlements are an "obstacle to peace." 

George H.W. Bush was strongly against settlement construction but did not call them illegal.

Bill Clinton adopted Reagan's phrase that they were an "obstacle to peace" but he was softer on  expansion of existing settlements.

George W. Bush called for a settlement freeze but did not characterize them as illegal or even an obstacle to peace.

Barack Obama and John Kerry hardened the US stance against settlement, calling them "illegitimate" but not using the word "illegal." However, Kerry did say, " “the Israeli Government’s program of establishing civilian settlements in the occupied territory is inconsistent with international law” which is essentially the same thing as calling their creation illegal, and that was the first administration to do so since Carter.

Then in 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law."

Blinken's saying that settlements are "inconsistent with international law" is a return to the Obama administration's stance, but most emphatically not a return to a "decades-long" position, which had been against settlements but that their fate must be decided via negotiations. 

(h/t Irene)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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