Trump dumbly undoes USA opposition to Israeli West Bank settlements

Trump dumbly undoes U.S. opposition to Israeli West Bank settlements

In new pro-Israel shift, US no longer calls settlements illegal

The prime minister and vocal critic of Israel said the US' stance, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was a blatant disregard of worldwide laws and several United Nations resolutions.

Pompeo told reporters at the State Department that the Trump administration believes any legal questions about settlements should be resolved by Israeli courts and that declaring them a violation of global law distracts from larger efforts to negotiate a peace deal.

"This announcement is just the latest in a long series of actions by the Trump administration created to aid the Israeli settlement movement, prevent a two-state solution and provide political gifts to Prime Minister Netanyahu", he said in a statement. Erekat said that a meeting of foreign ministers from Arab countries was necessary to order to come to a joint, effective position against the "dangerous" position take by the US.

U.S. comments effectively abandoning its 40-year old stance that Israel's right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were inconsistent with global law drew widespread condemnation on Tuesday. "This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate", Pompeo said.

The decision, apparently long in the works, comes days after a ruling by an European Union court requiring Israeli products made in disputed territories to carry special labels-a decision widely seen as creating a legal pretext for the E.U.'s eventual adoption of boycotts on Israeli goods.

But the decision boded ill for Middle East peace, it critics warned. The State Department had been reviewing the change for the past year, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Monday's announcement was the latest major move by the Trump administration that could jeopardize Palestinian's hopes for a two-state solution.

"On the timing, I can only speculate ... that this is something that might have been in the works between Ambassador Friedman and Prime Minister Netanyahu for months, and it might have been a "now or never" quality", Makovsky, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Al-Monitor.

In Israel, each and each Netanyahu and feeble Navy Chief Benny Gantz, who're each and each vying to draw a government following deadlocked elections in September, hailed the shift.

Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi urged the worldwide community to take urgent measures to defend the principles of the Middle Eastern peace settlement, the Ammon news agency quoted him as saying.

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As always, though, any decision that helps Israel is framed by many in the media as an effort to weaken "Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood".

Therefore, the USA government is expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement, he said.

"Entrenching the occupation and its injustice, and violating the resolutions of global legitimacy will not achieve peace, and will not guarantee security and stability", said Ayman Safadi, Jordan's Foreign Affairs Minister.

Instead, the USA secretary of state said, "This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate".

"Any final-status agreement between Israeli and the Palestinians for a two-state solution can not have America predetermining the outcome of its conditions if Palestinians is to eventually agree", he continued. Gantz called it "an important decision, which points once more to the [U.S. administration's] firm stance by Israel and commitment to the security and future of the entire Middle East". That eroding consensus means, he said, that a "consensual, durable resolution is only getting harder". Mr Pompeo said the Trump administration had studied all sides of the debate and agreed with Mr Reagan. "The ultimate impact is going to be rather marginal". "We did that once, wrongly, with the unilateral movement of the USA embassy to Jerusalem; we are now doubling down on abandoning a peaceful two-state solution". "This only reinforces that reality".

The minister stressed that "nothing can change the illegitimacy of settlements", which have been denounced by the global community. It obviously raises concerns with the Palestinians and Jordanians at the moment.

After two elections and almost a year of caretaker leadership, policy moves are debated but not enacted. "We are strong enough to deter and defeat enemies".

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted in response to the USA announcement: "Settlements in occupied #Palestine are a blatant violation of Int'l law & UNSCRs". "This David Friedman administration keeps empowering our Messianic, annexationist minority".

And the decision on settlements is a problem for the American Jewish community, because it further deepens the partisan divide on Israel.

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