The Johnson administration expressed similar views. It said nothing should "prejudice the search for" peace.
"By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI (government of Israel) adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement."
"Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention."
Reagan changed US policy. Defying international law he claimed settlements are "not illegal." They're merely "ill-advised" and "unnecessarily provocative."
Future presidents sustained his policy. Legal issues aren't addressed. Rhetoric substitutes for policy. Israel does what it pleases. It knows it has full US backing.
On February 18, Washington alone vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction.
Resolution language called colonization "illegal." It denounced settlements as an "obstacle to peace."
It demanded that "Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard."