West Bank, ALRAY - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the Trump administration is reversing its stance on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, stating that they are no longer illegal.
This move provoked a wide Palestinian official and factional denunciation.
Associated press has noted in a news that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. is repudiating the 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”
Israeli leaders welcomed the decision while Palestinians and other nations warned that it undercut any chance of a broader peace deal.
An official of US administration has stated previously that its likely that Pompeo will announce that US administration under Trump presidency will no longer abide by the State Department's 1978 legal view that settlements are "inconsistent with international law".
The change reflects the administration’s embrace of a hard-line Israeli view at the expense of the Palestinian quest for statehood. Similar actions have included President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the movement of the U.S. Embassy to that city and the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington, AP reported.
The US move followed the decision of the Supreme Court of the European Union, passed last Tuesday, that approved the legality of labeling Israeli goods produced in the settlements established in the territories occupied in 1967, which are exported to EU countries.
“The U.S. administration has lost its credibility to play any future role in the peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The European Union warned of the potential repercussions in a statement following the announcement that did not mention the U.S.
“All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” said the statement from the 28-nation bloc. “The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”
The 1978 legal opinion on settlements is known as the Hansell Memorandum. It had been the basis for more than 40 years of carefully worded U.S. opposition to settlement construction that had varied in its tone and strength, depending on the president’s position.
The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal based in part on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bars an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to occupied territory.