WASHINGTON (AA) – US Senator Chris Van Hollen on Wednesday criticized an Israeli bill that would allow Israelis back into four West Bank settlements evacuated in 2005.
The senator said the action, which rolled back an agreement reached more than 20 years ago to evacuate the settlements, was inconsistent with the obligations Israel had taken on in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Van Hollen made the remarks while questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
“I think we need to press those issues on both sides whenever we see violations of this agreement,” said Van Hollen.
The Israeli bill has triggered a storm of condemnation from several countries including the US, which summoned Israeli Ambassador Mike Herzog for clarification.
Estimates indicate that around 650,000 settlers are living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.