1st Edition

American Presidents and Israeli Settlements since 1967

By Michael F. Cairo Copyright 2023
    240 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Tracing presidential administrations since Lyndon B. Johnson, this book argues that the Trump administration's policy toward Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not an aberration but the culmination of over 50 years of American foreign policy.

    Under the Johnson administration, the United States rhetorically supported the applicability of international law regarding Israeli settlements. However, throughout the 1970s, administrations did little to reverse the construction and expansion of settlements. Moreover, presidents sent mixed signals regarding Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories. The Israeli settlement movement received support when Reagan argued that settlements were not illegal. Since then, American presidents have opposed settlement activity to various degrees, but not based on their illegality. Rather, presidents have described them as unwise, unhelpful, or obstacles to peace. Even when presidents have had opportunities to confront Israeli settlements directly, domestic pressure and America's special relationship with Israel have prevented serious action beyond rhetoric and condemnation.

    This volume will be of interest to scholars and students of the history and politics of American foreign policy, American relations with Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    1. Introduction
    2. Lyndon B. Johnson and the Problem of Territorial Integrity
    3. Nixon, Ford, and Kissinger: Limited Withdrawal
    4. Jimmy Carter and the Illegality of Israeli Settlements
    5. Reagan and Bush 41: Not Illegal But a “Real Problem”
    6. Bill Clinton: “Complicating Factors
    7. George W. Bush: From “Anything But Clinton” to More of the Same
    8. Barack Obama’s Failed Expectations
    9. Settled


    Dr. Michael Cairo is Professor of Political Science at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. He received his B.A. from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. His research emphasizes American foreign policy in the Middle East.

    The post-1967 Jewish settlement movement which succeeded in transferring Israeli nationals to the Arab West Bank and East Jerusalem has long been identified as a major contributor to the lingering absence of peace in that part of the world. What distinguishes this study form others before it is its emphasis on the policy of each individual American President and his reaction to the egregious dismissal of international law as it applies to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.  In the process, Professor Cairo also succeeds in clarifying the ways in which American foreign policy decisions are reached.

    -Ghada Hashem Talhami, Lake Forest College, USA


    This is a valuable new book studying an important dimension of U.S.-Israel relations: the attitudes of U.S. presidents and their administrations toward Israeli settlements and Israeli settlement policy, from 1967 through the Biden administration and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The scholarship reflected here is impressive, and students of Israeli politics and Israeli political history will want to own a copy of this book.

    -Gregory Mahler, Earlham College, USA