Washington (QNN)- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the status of the West Bank was for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate, the latest in a series of Trump administration moves that deny Palestinian rights.
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan,” Pompeo said in reference to Ronald Reagan’s position that settlements were not inherently illegal. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo said.
The occupation state immediately welcomed the move – a reversal of the US position under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Pompeo claimed that the review was prompted by the Obama administration’s decision to enable the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016, according to which settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”.
The Trump administration views the opinion, the basis for long-standing U.S. opposition to expanding the settlements, as a distraction and believes any legal questions about the issue should be addressed by Israeli courts, according to a draft of Pompeo’s remarks on the policy obtained by The Associated Press.
Settlements are gatherings of Israeli settlers established by the Israeli authorities on land occupied in 1967.
Daily violations are being documented by Israeli settlers against native Palestinians, while the Israeli authorities continue to confiscate lands and construct more settlements and outposts.
About 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law.