US on Smotrich’s plan to expand control of West Bank: ‘It’s self-defeating’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Religious Zionism party leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting in northern Israel, May 19, 2024. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

WASHINGTON — The US pans Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s recent comments on a clandestine effort to expand Israel’s civilian control of the West Bank. the way Israel governs the West Bank.

“We have seen the finance minister, who also is a minister inside the Defense Ministry’s attempt to further administratively integrate settlements into Israel. We have made quite clear that settlements are counterproductive to peace, that the government of Israel’s settlement program is inconsistent with international law, and we will continue to make that clear,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says when asked about Smotrich’s comments during a press briefing.

“We will continue to make the case to [Israel] that actions like these don’t just harm the Palestinian people, but they ultimately are self-defeating. They ultimately hurt Israel’s interests and weaken Israel’s security,” Miller adds.

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