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November 30, 2019

Israel’s next move

Opinion

November 30, 2019

It is hardly shocking that the United States government has finally decreed that illegal Jewish settlements which have been built in defiance of international law, are, somehow, “consistent” with international law.

US foreign policy has been edging closer towards this conclusion for some time. Since his advent to the White House in January 2017, President Donald Trump has unleashed a total and complete reversal of his country’s foreign policy regarding Palestine and Israel.

Let us not have any illusion regarding the American approach to the so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ prior to Trump’s Presidency. The US has never, not even once, stood up for Palestinians or Arabs since the establishment of the State of Israel over the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Moreover, Washington has bankrolled the Israeli occupation of Palestine in every possible way, including the subsidizing of the illegal Jewish settlements.

However, Pompeo’s statement at a State Department press conference on November 18 that, “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” is still very dangerous and it does, in fact, constitute a political departure from previous US policies. How?

Historically, the US has struggled in its understanding of international law, not because of its lack of legal savvy but because, quite often, US interests clashed with the will of the international community. A recurring case in point is the Israeli occupation of Palestine, where the US has vetoed or voted against numerous United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that either criticized Israel or supported the rights of the Palestinians.

Only in 1978, did an American Administration dare describe Israeli settlements as “inconsistent with international law”. That declaration took place during Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, when Washington began earnestly fiddling with the “peace process” political model, which eventually led to the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, signed at Camp David in 1979.

“Since then,” Joseph Hincks wrote in Time Magazine online, “Republican and Democratic Presidents have referred to settlements as ‘illegitimate’ but declined to call them illegal – a designation that would make them subject to international sanctions.”

That said, it was Reagan himself – although objecting to the principle of illegality of the settlements – who deemed them to be an “obstacle to peace”, demanding a freeze on all settlement construction.

Pompeo’s statement is, in fact, compatible with Washington’s self-contradictions regarding the construction of Israel’s illegal settlement in occupied Palestine.

Excerpted from: ‘Israel’s Next Move: The Real Danger in US Decision to Normalize Illegal Jewish Settlements’.

Counterpunch.org

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