25 US Democrats urge Blinken to halt Israeli construction of E-1 in West Bank

WASHINGTON – Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin-2) sent a letter Monday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to express immense concern about the Israeli government’s efforts to approve the construction of settlements in the E-1 of 12 area. square kilometers near Jerusalem. “He was joined by 24 additional House Democrats, including Andy Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Joaquin Castro, Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee.

“The settlements diminish the viability of a contiguous Palestinian state, which also threatens the future of a negotiated two-state solution that guarantees civil and political rights, security and self-determination for both peoples,” Pocan wrote in his letter.

“Recent efforts by the Israeli government to advance approval for the construction of 3,400 homes in the highly sensitive area known as E-1 pose an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peace solution between Israel and the Palestinians,” he continued.

According to the letter, “Frozen for years, plans to build settlements in E-1 have been dubbed” apocalyptic settlements “because they would threaten the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state by dividing the northern West Bank from the southern, as well as the West Bank. from East Jerusalem “.

“The E-1 is a vital corridor for Palestinian community life, connecting Ramallah and the northern West Bank with Bethlehem and the southern West Bank,” the congressman added. “To ensure the prospects for peace, we urge the State Department to exert diplomatic pressure to prevent the construction of settlements in E-1.”

THE MUGHRABI Bridge leading to the Temple Mount precinct, with the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock behind it, in the Old City of Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH90)

In addition, Pocan requested an update on “the State Department’s steps to discourage the advance of settlements on E-1” by December 15, 2021.

The housing plan has progressed slowly since 1994 despite intense opposition from the United States and Europe. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had allowed the plan to be deposited in 2020, a move that brings the project closer to the final approval stage.

Since taking office in May, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has spoken about the importance of continued settlement development and has pledged not to freeze settlement planning or construction.


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