Secretary of State Antony Blinken is signaling a possible return to a long-standing US policy that rejects Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, calling it “inconsistent with international law.”

Asked at a news conference in Argentina for his response to Israel’s alleged plans to build thousands of new settlement homes in the area, Blinken responded: “We have seen the reports and I must say that we are disappointed with the announcement.”

“It has been a long-standing policy of the United States, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, that new settlements are counterproductive to achieving lasting peace. They are also inconsistent with international law,” Blinken said. “Our administration remains firmly opposed to settlement expansion and, in our view, this only weakens, not strengthens, Israel’s security.”

The Biden administration has condemned Israeli expansion in the West Bank for years, but the State Department had not yet gone so far as to say they violated international law after Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, said in 2019 that the United States already would not see Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem as violations.

But before delivering his rebuke, Blinken took note of what he called a “horrible terrorist attack” against a Jewish settlement in the West Bank this week and said the United States would continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its people.

-Shannon Crawford of ABC News

By Sam