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The Trump administration says that Israeli West Bank settlements do not violate international law



This move supports more than 40 years the US policy that declared the Israeli expansion into territories occupied after the 1967 war as a major obstacle to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In response to a question Pompeo denied, this message was related to the turmoil in Israel, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supports Israeli annexation on the West Bank, is fighting for his political life.

"The timing for this is not about anything you have to do with domestic politics everywhere," he said. "We conducted our review and this was the right time to continue it."

More than 700,000 settlers resided in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the 1967 war. Both areas are claimed by the Palestinians as a future state.

Since Israel first occupied the territories, only the Carter administration, based on the State Department's 1978 legal opinion, categorically declared the settlements illegal, although all administrations have since identified them as an obstacle to peace and called for the freezing of the territories. settlement expansion and new construction.

A month before President Trump took office, Barack Obama, whose administration described the settlements as "illegitimate" – became the first US president to veto one of countless UN resolutions that declared them illegal. In one of his most recent actions in that office, the administration abstained from a UN vote, calling the settlements a "gross violation under international law", allowing it to pass.

The then Secretary of State, John F. Kerry, in a speech explaining abstention, referring to the "proliferation of avant-garde settlements that are illegal under Israel's own laws."

Pompeo stated that the administration was returning to politics under Ronald Reagan, saying that Reagan had said in a 1981 interview that the settlements were not illegal "Reagan continued in this interview to say that the settlements were" unfair His subsequent peace plan of 1983 says that "immediate acceptance of settlements freezes from Israel, more than any other action" will increase the prospects for peace.

"The United States Government has no opinion on the legal status in every single place, "Pom said Such assessments, he said, apply to the Israeli courts "and" we do not deal with or prejudice the ultimate status of the West Bank. This is to negotiate with the Israelis and Palestinians. "

The announcement prompted immediate criticism as malicious and skeptical. that it is not related to both Israeli or US policy.

"I am puzzled by the times," said Dennis Ross, who has played a leading role in policymaking in the Middle East in several administrations from Reagan to Obama. "If you were still interested in presenting Trump's peace plan, you would not want to do something that puts key Arab leaders., in a position where they would be much more moved to oppose. "

The introduction of the Middle East peace plan promised by Trump at the beginning of his administration is

Aaron David Miller, ex the middle east, the world negotiator with the Republican and Democratic administrations said that "it has essentially endorsed and ecologized the whole settlement enterprise., at a time when the peace process is almost comatose and they know that it is unlikely to return again."

In Israel, both Netanyahu and former Army Chief Benny Ganz, each competing to form a government after the September election, welcomes the change.

"The fate of the settlements and inhabitants of Judea and Samaria must be determined by agreements that meet security requirements and which can promote peace," Gantz said in a statement using biblical names for the West Bank, which has become in popular society among Israelis in recent years.

Netanyahu, who was a firm supporter of the settlements and proposed annexing the Jordan Valley in Israel, praised the move as reflecting "historical truth – that the Jewish people are not foreign colonials in Judea and Samaria. In fact, they call us Jews because we are the people of Judea. "

But Pompeo's message was met with apprehension by Palestinian leaders as well as by peace advocates who viewed settlement expansion as reducing the likelihood – and size – of a possible future Palestinian state.

"The Israeli villages claims that they are stealing Palestinian land, seizing and exploiting Palestinian natural resources, and dividing, displacing and restricting the movement of Palestinian people, "a statement from the OOP Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement." which threatens the international system with its continued attempts to replace international law with "jungle law."

Ayman Ode, leader of a faction of Israeli-Arab Knesset members of the Israeli Parliament, tweeted : "No foreign minister will change the fact that settlements are built on occupied land where an independent Palestinian state must one day stand next to the state of Israel."

The softening of the US position on settlements comes as a delayed push for Netanyahu, as he clings to power in an instant political moment; his rival Gantz has less than two days left to form a government before the process opens to free talks from across the parliament. Netanyahu is also expected to be charged with corruption in the coming weeks, if not days.

"Israel is deeply grateful to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and the entire US administration for their steadfast stance in support of truth and justice," Netanyahu said in a statement.

Pompeo also announced the lifting of sanctions waivers, which allowed companies from the European Union and Russia to work with Iran as it transforms an underground uranium enrichment facility into a "nuclear, physical and technological center", the terms of the nuclear deal. the 2015 Obama administration with Iran.

Pompeo stated that the refusal would be lifted on December 15, following Iran's announcement that it would increase uranium enrichment at the facility. The decision exposes foreign companies working with Iran to sanctions in the US.

"The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world's largest state sponsor of terror is zero," Pompeo said.

Critics say ending the refusal is unnecessarily vindictive and risks an even more dangerous confrontation with Iran.

In Iraq, where the government unleashed a deadly crackdown on anti-corruption protesters, Pompeo said the United States is ready to strike new sanctions on officials proven to be corrupt or involved in violent clashes with peaceful demonstrations who left 315 dead last month.

"We will not stand idle while corrupt officials make the Iraqi people suffer," Pompeo said. "We support the Iraqi people as they strive for a prosperous, corruption-free Iraq. ,,, Iraqi leaders must protect human rights. "

Hendricks reports from Jerusalem.


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