31 Members of US Congress Urge Biden to Block Illegal Israeli Settlement Construction

31 Members of US Congress Urge Biden to Block Illegal Israeli Settlement Construction

Givat Zeev, an illegal Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (File photo: Getty Images)

Thirty-one US Lawmakers have called on the US President Joe Biden urging to remain firm on his position against settlement construction in E1 area, east of occupied Jerusalem, and to use every diplomatic tool at his disposal to ensure that Israel does not further advance these devastating plans.

“We write to express our alarm over the Israeli government’s renewed effort to build settlements in the West Bank area known as E-1”, wrote the lawmakers in the letter sent on July 1. “As legislators committed to the goal of a just and secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians, we are grateful to this administration for its previous work to prevent harmful actions that move us further from this goal, including the successful prevention of E-1 settlement plans that were under consideration last year.”

The letter urged the US administration “to continue holding firm on this issue, especially as you prepare for President Biden’s forthcoming visit to the region”.

The Members of the Congress quoted a letter from November 2021, saying efforts to advance settlement construction in E-1 “pose an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peace solution between Israel and the Palestinians…[and] have been referred to as ‘doomsday settlements’ because they would threaten the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state by dividing the north of the West Bank from the south, as well as the West Bank from East Jerusalem.”

“Preserving this territorial contiguity is vital to the prospects for peace and a two-state solution, and we remain strongly opposed to any such effort to entrench the occupation of Palestinian territory”, added the letter. “We were heartened that the Biden administration shared Congress’s concerns and upheld the strong stance held by previous administrations of both parties in opposing settlement construction in E-1. U.S.”

“Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides has called the proposed settlements a “disaster” and has described the Biden administration’s efforts to prevent it as going ‘full bore.’ We were pleased to see these efforts rewarded by the news this January that the Israeli government’s E-1 settlement construction plan had been “indefinitely postponed.”

“We are looking forward to the President’s first visit to Israel this month. Despite this administration’s clear commitment to preventing settlement construction in E-1, the Israeli government has recently reversed its position and announced plans to move ahead with E-1 settlements once again, scheduling the final hearing on the objections to the project within days of the President’s planned visit.”

The lawmakers said the United States intervention at this pivotal moment is critical: “We are encouraged by reports that the Biden administration has pushed the Israeli government not to move forward with the planned hearing on E-1 settlement construction, and we hope you will continue to prioritize this issue with the current interim Israeli government and any future coalitions.”

They urged Biden “to continue emphasizing in the lead-up to this visit that settlement construction in E-1 remains a red line for the United States, and to use every diplomatic tool at your disposal to ensure that Israel does not further advance these devastating plans”.

Short Link : http://bit.ly/3nFSAmV