Trump must push for end to illegal Israeli settlements during meeting with Netanyahu

President Donald Trump must use his upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make clear that the US government opposes the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International in an open letter published today.

The two men are due to meet at the White House tomorrow, Wednesday 15 February. Since President Trump’s inauguration last month, the Israeli authorities have announced plans to construct more than 6,200 new settlement homes, apparently emboldened by the prospect of a new ally in the White House. In recent statements to the media however, President Trump has warned that the expansion of Israeli settlements may not be “good for peace”.

“The meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Donald Trump offers a unique opportunity for the US government to make clear that it will not tolerate the unlawful construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. The President must acknowledge that settlements are not only ‘bad for peace’ but constitute a flagrant violation of international law,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

The meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Donald Trump offers a unique opportunity for the US government to make clear that it will not tolerate the unlawful construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

“Illegal settlements on Palestinian land have been a hallmark of Israel’s brutal 50-year-long occupation. By continuing with its discriminatory settlement policy Israel is also brazenly breaching multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, including the most recent resolution passed in December calling for an end to settlement activities in the Occupied West Bank. We urge President Trump to seize this unique opportunity to demonstrate to Israel that it will not be granted a carte-blanche to trample all over the rights of the occupied Palestinian population.”  

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting Amnesty International has published a background briefing document for journalists highlighting the devastating impact that settlements continue to have on the lives of 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.