Israeli Settlements Don’t Violate International Law, Pompeo Announces

UPDATE: Israelis laud 'historic' U.S. policy shift on settlements; Palestinians call for international rebuke  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. is softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the latest in a series of Trump administration moves that weaken Palestinian claims to statehood.

Pompeo said the Trump administration will be reversing the previous government's "approach" on the settlements issue and returning to a version of the Reagan policy of the 1980s, which is likely to anger Palestinians and put the U.S. at odds with other nations working to end the conflict.

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– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 49

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 49Haaretz

The move was based on a legal review to reassess the 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo said.

Speaking to the press at the State Department in Washington, the secretary of state emphasized that, while the administration is revoking the notion that settlements are illegal under international law, it is not taking a position on Israel's sovereignty over the West Bank. Pompeo repeated several times that the final decision on that topic, as well as the status of East Jerusalem, should be left to direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.