Trump administration reverses decades-long alignment with international law on illegality of Israeli settlements

By | November 18, 2019

Al Jazeera reports:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the United States is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration that reversed decades of US policy.

Pompeo said the administration of President Donald Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law”.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees… (the) establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo said.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US move “contradicts totally with international law”.

Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, said on Twitter before Pompeo’s statement, that the move was “another blow to international law, justice & peace”.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US announcement “rights a historical wrong”.

According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2016, Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies. [Continue reading…]

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