ACHRS strongly condemns U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for announcing that the U.S. will reverse its stance on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
By announcing this, Donald Trump and his administration are unraveling decades of U.S. foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. In 1978, the U.S. State Department declared that these settlements were inconsistent with international law. However, Pompeo believes that the U.S. no longer has to abide by the 1978 State Department legal opinion. This announcement also goes against several United Nations Security Council resolutions and violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. ACHRS believes that the United States is blatantly disregarding international law and inciting violence on both sides of the conflict. Not only do Israeli settlements in the West Bank make finding a peaceful solution to the conflict impossible, but they violate the rights of Palestinians and the territory that was promised to them by the United Nations.
ACHRS believes that Israeli settlements are the greatest barrier to peace. Israel’s continued construction of settlements in the West Bank has destroyed any hope of a future Palestinian state. It’s also a stark reminder that Israel is not holding up its end of the deal, deepening Palestinian mistrust. Since the United States plays a large role in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it is vital that the U.S. begins to put its own interests aside to shape a more just and peaceful Middle East. ACHRS believes that Pompeo’s announcement will create an extremely volatile human rights situation in Palestinian territory. The Trump Administration’s decisions regarding Palestine will have dangerous consequences. President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The U.S. also drastically cut its funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinians. These decisions along with Pompeo’s announcement regarding Israeli settlements have surely ignited a fire in the region, which will not be extinguished for a long time.