US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a major reversal of the American longstanding policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, rejecting a 1978 State Department legal opinion that deemed the settlements "inconsistent with international law”, CNN reports.
Pompeo announces reversal of longstanding US policy on Israeli settlements
STEPANAKERT, NOVEMBER 19, ARTSAKHPRESS: "After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate... the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law," Pompeo said, citing President Ronald Reagan's 1981 assessment that the settlements were not "inherently illegal."
Pompeo said the US government is "expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement" or "addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Pompeo, saying “the United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong when the Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are inherently illegal under international law.”
But Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, has condemned Pompeo's announcement as marking another attempt by the Trump administration "to replace international law with the 'law of the jungle.'"