US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the American government does not consider Israeli Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be in violation of international law.
Addressing reporters at a press conference Monday, Pompeo said: “The Trump Administration is reversing the Obama Administration towards Israeli settlements. US public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades.”
“In 1978, the Carter Administration categorically concluded that Israel’s establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn’t believe that the settlements were inherently illegal. Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on; legal positions didn’t advance peace,” Pompeo explained.
He accused former US Secretary of State John Kerry of changing “decades of this careful, bipartisan approach by publicly reaffirming the supposed illegality of settlements” in December 2016, at the end of the Obama Administration.
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan,” Pompeo declared. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per say, inconsistent with international law.”
He further stated that the Trump Administration recognized the authority of Israeli courts on the legality of specific Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
“The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it. Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others cannot be legally sustained.
He added: “We are not addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank. This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate. International law does not compel a particular outcome nor create any legal obstacle to a negotiated resolution.”