Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, was called to a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Tuesday in a rare demonstration of US disapproval of Israel’s revocation of the Disengagement Law.
Vedant Patel, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department, stated in a statement that the discussion was about the new legislation approved by the Knesset.
According to Patel, “the Deputy Secretary addressed US concern on legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset repealing significant provisions of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the ban on creating settlements in the northern West Bank.
In what might be interpreted as a reference to the controversial statements made by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who said at an event in Paris on Sunday that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” he continued, “They also discussed the importance of all parties refraining from actions or rhetoric that could further inflame tensions leading into the Ramadan, Passover, and Easter holidays.”
This kind of meeting is uncommon in US-Israeli ties and is a formal diplomatic protest. Usually, Americans communicate with Israel without employing these kinds of formalities.
Even though Tuesday’s meeting was not described in the State Department readout as a formal summoning or reprimand of Herzog, a source with knowledge of the situation claimed that this was the reason for the urgent summons.
Patel denounced the Knesset’s adoption of the amendment removing the Disengagement from northern Samaria and enabling Jews to repopulate the four settlements obliterated there in 2005 just hours before the meeting.
The Israeli Knesset’s decision to repeal key provisions of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the ban on settling new land in the northern West Bank, has alarmed the United States, Patel added.
One of the four villages, Homesh, was allegedly erected on privately owned Palestinian land, making it “illegal” even under Israeli law, according to Patel.
The administration “strongly urges Israel to refrain from allowing the return of settlers to the area,” he said, calling the action “particularly provocative and counterproductive to efforts for restoring calm.”
The Biden administration viewed the Finance Minister’s comments as “not only false but also very alarming and dangerous,” according to Patel, who denounced Smotrich’s remarks in Paris.
The history and culture of the Palestinians are wealthy, according to Patel.