The Israeli government’s latest announcement of plans to build some 5,700 homes in settlements throughout the West Bank, including in areas that will heighten friction between Israelis and Palestinians, and the retroactive legalization of three unauthorized outposts is strategically damaging to Israel and to the shared interests of Israel and the United States.  

As an organization deeply committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish and democratic state, Israel Policy Forum opposes the path of de facto annexation that the current Israeli government is pursuing. It is harmful to Israel’s security, damaging to prospects for the expansion of regional normalization with Israel, negatively impacting U.S.-Israel and Israel-diaspora relations, and sending a message to the international community that Israel seeks unending control of all of the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

At a time of already heightened tensions and conflict in the West Bank, this latest announcement is especially irresponsible. Placing Israeli civilians deep in the West Bank in close proximity to major Palestinian population centers will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of violence. This move will further weaken the already diminished Palestinian Authority and create further challenges to the IDF’s ability to maintain security at a time of rising terrorism targeting Israelis.

By retroactively legalizing unauthorized outposts, Israel is rewarding unlawful activity amidst a surge of settler violence targeting Palestinian villages throughout the West Bank. Left unchecked, the Israeli government can be expected to continue to take steps to embolden the far-right ideology that it ably represents.

We support the Biden administration’s continued effort to make clear to Israel that it will not support this path and cannot defend these actions, which undermine U.S. interests and efforts to secure regional stability and widen the circle of normalization.

We remain committed to building support among policymakers and community leaders for constructive U.S. policies that strengthen the pursuit of a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that counter actions that would harm Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state.