Pocan E1 Letter

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Blinken:

November 22, 2021

We write to express our immense concern about the Israeli Government’s efforts to advance approval of settlement construction in the 12 square-kilometer E-1 area near Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank further entrench the occupation and undermine the prospects ofatwo-statesolution. SettlementsdiminishtheviabilityofacontiguousPalestinianstate,thereby also threatening the future of a negotiated two-state solution that guarantees the civil and political rights, safety, and self-determination of both peoples. Furthermore, settlements are a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of civilians by an occupying power into the territory it occupies.

Prior to the Trump presidency, U.S. Administrations from both parties have held that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “inconsistent with international law” in accordance with 1978 U.S. State Department guidance. Unfortunately, there was a 28 percent increase in West Bank settlement construction during the previous Administration. The recent efforts by the Israeli Government to advance the approval to build 3,400 housing units in the highly sensitive area known as E-1 pose an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peace solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Frozen for years, plans to build settlements in E-1 have been referred to as “doomsday settlements” because they would threaten the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state by dividing the north of the West Bank from the south, as well as the West Bank from East Jerusalem. E-1 is a vital corridor for Palestinian communal life, connecting Ramallah and the northern West Bank to Bethlehem and the southern West Bank.

To ensure the prospects of peace, we urge the State Department to exert diplomatic pressure to prevent settlement construction in E-1. In addition, we request an update regarding the State Department’s steps to discourage the advancement of settlements in E-1 by December 15, 2021.


Mark Pocan, Member of Congress

Don Beyer, Member of Congress

Earl Blumenauer, Member of Congress 

André Carson Member of Congress

Joaquin Castro, Member of Congress

Steve Cohen, Member of Congress

Judy Chu, Member of Congress

Debbie Dingell, Member of Congress

Anna G. Eshoo, Member of Congress

Jared Huffman, Member of Congress

Sara Jacobs, Member of Congress

Pramila Jayapal, Member of Congress

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Member of Congress

Mondaire Jones, Member of Congress

Barbara Lee, Member of Congress

Andy Levin, Member of Congress

Alan Lowenthal, Member of Congress

James P . McGovern, Member of Congress

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Member of Congress

Donald M. Payne, Jr., Member of Congress

Chellie Pingree, Member of Congress

David E. Price, Member of Congress

Jan Schakowsky, Member of Congress

Maxine Waters, Member of Congress

Peter Welch, Member of Congress

John Yarmuth, Member of Congress