In a Monday statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington no longer regards Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law, reversing the Obama administration’s position and taking no legal position on the question or that of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank itself.
Pompeo announced the US would repudiate its previous legal opinion on the status of the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The US will no longer adopt a position on the legality of those settlements, breaking with the Obama administration’s decision that they did violate international law.
The settlements are home to more than 600,000 Israelis, who live mostly in settlements scattered across the territories, which Israel seized from Jordan in 1967 in the so-called Six-Day War.
However, the West Bank is also home to 2.7 million Palestinian Arabs, with another 327,000 living in East Jerusalem, most of whom live under military occupation amid the Israeli settlements.
Since 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State has regarded Israeli civilian settlements in the occupied territories as explicitly contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he reversed that decision; Pompeo indicated Monday the US was returning to the Reagan-era position.
“There will never be a judicial resolution” to the conflict, Pompeo said, noting it…