US Announces Legal of Israeli Settlements in West Bank

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (photo: special)

Washington, MINA – The United States has shifted its position regarding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. It was no longer viewing as illegal and inconsistent with international law.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the status of West Bank was to be negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel welcomed the move a reversal of the US stance under President Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who declared it was illegal, thus, the BBC reported on Monday.

Settlements were communities established by Israel on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

The settlements have long been a source of strife between Israel and the international community, and Palestine.

“After study of all sides of the legal debate,” Pompeo told reporters, “the United States has concluded that the formation of Israeli civil settlements in the West Bank is not illegal, in essence, again inconsistent with international law,” he said.

“Calling the formation of civil settlements that are inconsistent with international law is unsuccessful. It does not advance the goal of peace, “he added.

Until now, US policy was based on a legal opinion issued by the State Department in 1978 that said the construction of settlements in Palestinian territories annexed a decade earlier by Israel was contrary to international law.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the law of war explicitly prohibits the transfer of civilians to occupied territories.

The Trump administration’s move reversed the US stance under its predecessor, Barack Obama, who was annoyed with Netanyahu, permitting Resolution 2334 to call Israeli settlements a flagrant violation of international law. (T/Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)