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Israel’s next move is the real danger in the US decision to normalise illegal Jewish settlements

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It is hardly a major surprise that the US government has finally decreed that illegal Jewish settlements built in defiance of international law are somehow “consistent” with the said law. US foreign policy has been edging closer towards this conclusion for some time. Since moving into 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, though. The US has never, not even once, stood up for Palestinians or Arabs since the establishment of the State of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Moreover, Washington has bankrolled the Israeli occupation of Palestine in every possible way, including the subsidising of the illegal Jewish settlements.

Nevertheless, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement at a press conference on 18 November — “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law” — is still very dangerous. In fact, it constitutes a political departure from previous US policies.

How? Historically, Washington has struggled in its understanding of international law, not because of its lack of legal savvy but because, quite often, US interests have 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 UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that either criticised Israel or supported the rights of the Palestinians.

Palestinians and Third Israeli Elections: Impact and vulnerability!

Only in 1978 did a US administration dare to describe Israeli settlements as “inconsistent with international law”. That happened........

© Middle East Monitor