20. Adopt a New U.S. Policy on Settlements

U.S. policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank has historically focused on limiting the overall number of settlement units without regard to the geographic location of construction, which has resulted in a largely losing battle as settlements have expanded in number. In addition, settlements are now proliferating in new places, with nearly 75% of settlement construction over the past decade taking place beyond the security barrier. On top of this, following the Trump administration’s reversal of four-decade old State Department legal guidance, the U.S. also no longer officially deems settlement construction to be inconsistent with international law. The U.S. should simultaneously restore the previous longstanding legal position on settlements and adopt a new policy that evaluates settlement construction by its location rather than quantity. Not all settlements are equally damaging, and if the U.S. hopes to limit the harmful impact of new settlement construction on a future viable two-state outcome, it should focus its political capital on preventing construction outside of the 4-5% of the West Bank that will likely be part of land swaps in a negotiated agreement, and take a less public condemnatory approach to settlement units inside this zone while continuing to oppose their expansion.