Elizabeth Warren Suggests She Could Withhold U.S. Aid to Israel Over Settlements: 'Everything Is On The Table'

Elizabeth Warren could pull U.S. military aid from Israel if it does not stop building settlements in the West Bank.

The Democratic 2020 primary candidate, who has taken a lead in recent polls, told The Hill "everything is on the table" should she become the next president and Israel continues building settlements in the West Bank.

Israel is due to receive $38 billion in military funding from the United States under the terms of a 10 year agreement rolling to 2028.

The funding pot includes $33 billion of foreign military financing and $5 billion in missile defence appropriations, according to the Congressional Research Service, which says Israel has been the "largest cumulative recipient" of U.S. foreign aid since World War II.

Senators last year passed the military aid package into law under the Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018.

The country also receives $5 million from the United States for the resettlement of refugees.

Asked by The Hill if she would make that aid to Israel conditional on a "freeze" to settlement building, Senator Warren said: "Right now Netanyahu says that he's going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements. That does not move us toward a two-state solution.

"It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction then everything is on the table."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: "It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table." pic.twitter.com/GjumaLoZ9k

— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2019

Israeli settlements in the West Bank have proved highly contentious on the global stage, with the U.N. Security Council declaring them a "flagrant violation of international law" without any "legal validity" in 2016.

Yet the condemnation of settlements has not deterred Israel from constructing more—with Al Jazeera reporting that the construction of 6,000 new homes in Palestinian territory was approved by Israel in July this year.

An estimated 600,000 Israeli settlers were living in areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the first six months of 2018, European Union figures show, while the pro-two-state solution activist group Peace Now puts the total number of settlements in the West Bank alone at 132. Israel has consistently denied the construction of settlements violates international law, and in the run-up to the latest general election Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mooted the notion of formally extending Israeli sovereignty to these communities—a move critics argue would amount to illegal annexation.

Sen. Warren of Massachusetts is not the only Democrat to come out against the creation of those settlements and to Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were blocked from entering Israel over their support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement directed at Israel over its treatment of Palestinian people.

Several candidates in the party's 2020 primary race also missed out the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee this year—including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

An April poll by the Pew Research Center found that Democrat voters also had unfavorable views of the Israeli government, with 13 percent of Democrats saying they had unfavorable view of Israel and a favorable view of Palestine, while 53 percent said they had an unfavorable view of both governments.