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In rebuke of White House, US House Speaker Johnson says Jews have right to live anywhere in Israel, 'including in Judea and Samaria – the Biblical heartland'

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., delivers remarks on the Capitol steps, Oct 25, 2023 (Photo: Eric Kayne/USA TODAY)

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson stressed on Saturday that the Jewish people have historic and legal rights to Judea and Samaria, the ‘heartland’ of biblical Israel.

“The Jewish people have a historic and legal right to live in the land of Israel including in Judea and Samaria – the Biblical heartland,” Johnson wrote on 𝕏.

The house speaker continued to blast the Biden administration for its recent decision to oppose the construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, amid the ongoing war with the Iranian-backed Hamas terror organization in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“It is an absolute disgrace the Biden administration would issue this decision, especially as Israel fights terrorists on multiple fronts that seek Israel’s destruction and as more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza,” Johnson stated.

“The Biden Administration must stop undermining Israel and facilitating efforts to delegitimize Israel. It is misguided and unconscionable.”

The strong rebuke from Johnson came one day after U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken criticized the Israeli government’s decision to build more than 3,000 new homes for Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank.

“We’re disappointed in the announcement,” Blinken stated during a press conference on Friday. Washington’s top diplomat argued that it was an American bipartisan policy to view Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as obstacles to peace.

“It’s been longstanding U.S. policy under Republican and Democratic administrations alike that new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace,” Blinken said.

“They’re also inconsistent with international law. Our administration maintains a firm opposition to settlement expansion. And in our judgment, this only weakens – it doesn’t strengthen – Israel’s security.”

The bipartisan opposition to Jewish communities in the disputed territories was challenged during the Trump administration, marked by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's declaration that these communities are "not per se inconsistent with international law." This stance became known as the 'Pompeo Doctrine,' which appears to have been overturned by the Biden administration.

During the years of Jordanian occupation from 1948 to 1967, Jews were forbidden to visit Jerusalem’s Old City, with the sacred Western Wall and patriarchal holy sites becoming Jew-free territory.

Following its military victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel began constructing new Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, which have expanded over time due to natural population growth. Today, around half a million Jews live in what constitutes the heartland of ancient Israel, with all of its biblical sites.

The Israeli government’s decision to build new Jewish homes in the area came after three Palestinian terrorists from the Bethlehem area murdered one Israeli and injured over ten others after opening fire using automatic weapons. The attack, which was praised by Hamas, happened on Thursday morning at a busy checkpoint outside Ma’ale Adumim, a Jewish community close to Jerusalem.

Following the deadly attack, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich stressed that expanding Israeli communities in the West Bank was an appropriate response.

“The serious attack on Ma’ale Adumim must have a determined security response but also a settlement response,” Smotrich argued in a statement on 𝕏.

“Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our hold all over the country.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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