Democratic Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen told Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday that the Biden administration’s State Department makes the U.S. “look very weak.”
Van Hollen raised the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the increase in settlements that have been developed in the West Bank by Israelis in recent months, particularly since a new right-wing government took power in the country at the end of 2022. The U.S. has repeatedly warned Israel against expanding the settlements, but has refused to take concrete action to stop them.
Democrat Chris Van Hollen says Biden’s State Department makes America look weak @DailyCaller pic.twitter.com/Q439PXUAyT
— Dylan Housman (@Dylan_Housman) March 22, 2023
“This was a very official act by the Knesset, just days after the phone call between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden,” Van Hollen said. “It seems to me that we look very weak when we continually make statements without any kind of consequence.”
Van Hollen then asked what the Biden administration is prepared to actually do if either side of the conflict continues to violate recent agreements, which include agreements by Israel not to expand settlements for a period of six months. Netanyahu disregarded that agreement almost immediately after it was reached. (RELATED: Adam Schiff Says He’s ‘Very Concerned’ About ‘Bigotry’ In Israeli Government)
The settlement activity has been part of a recent cycle of escalating violence in Israel, which has seen an increase in raids by Israeli defense forces in the West Bank alongside more terror attacks by Palestinians against Jews.
The Biden administration has condemned Israeli settlement activity at every opportunity. However, when pressed by lawmakers, journalists and activists on what it will do further since the condemnations are clearly ineffective, the administration has not given a clear answer.