On November 18th, the United States expressed its support for Israel’s right to build a Jewish colony in the West Bank, and abandoned the position that the Jewish colony did not conform to international law for nearly forty years.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a press conference that the United States no longer believes that Israel’s colonial zone in the West Bank violates international law. Pompeo pointed out that after careful study of the parties involved in the legal debate, the current government agreed with former US President Ronald Reagan that the establishment of an Israeli civilian colony in the West Bank itself is not in violation of international law.
Pompeo said that accusing the establishment of civilian colonial areas in violation of international law does not promote the cause of peace. The cruel fact is that conflicts will never be resolved by the judiciary, and arguing on who is right and wrong on international law will not bring peace. He also stated that the legitimacy of individual colonies should be decided by the Israeli courts and that the US statement would not harm the final comprehensive settlement between Israel and Palestine.
The US Cable News Network (CNN) described it as a major reversal of policy, denying the US, the State Council’s 1978 opinion that the colonial zone violated international law. A US government official said that the Trump administration had intended to announce the decision in the week of November 11-17, but the decision was postponed because Palestinian militants exchanged fire in Gaza and Israel.
Officials said that in the past year, the State Department has been working with the White House Peace team led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to make decisions. Officials also said that this move will not change the government’s position that the continued construction of the colony is not conducive to peace between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that the United States has corrected “historical mistakes” and welcomed the United States to reconsider Israel’s colonial zone.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the US decision is completely contrary to international law. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also said that the colonial zone is a flagrant violation of international law and has dangerous consequences.