US News: Progressive Jewish Groups Condemn Trump Administration's Softened Stance on Israeli Settlements - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Progressive Jewish Groups Condemn Trump Administration's Softened Stance on Israeli Settlements

08:05  19 november  2019
08:05  19 november  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

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Progressive American Jewish groups strongly criticized an announcement by the Trump administration that the U. S . will no longer view controversially Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the declaration on Monday

Regarding Israeli settlements as inconsistent with international law "has not advanced the cause of peace," Pompeo said. US President Donald Trump ' s administration is softening its stance on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Washington' s top diplomat announced on Monday.

(Video by NBC News)

Progressive American Jewish groups strongly criticized an announcement by the Trump administration that the U.S. will no longer view controversially Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the declaration on Monday, in a decision that was first reported by the Associated Press. The announcement goes against more than four decades of U.S. policy and is counter to international consensus.

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration declared on Monday that the United States does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law, reversing four decades of American policy and removing what has been an important barrier to annexation of Palestinian territory.

The United States on Monday effectively backed Israel 's right to build Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a statement on the Trump administration ' s position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank

"Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace," Pompeo argued. "The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace."

a group of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie: President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands in the Oval Office of the White House on March 25 in Washington, D.C. © Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands in the Oval Office of the White House on March 25 in Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Alissa Wise, acting co-executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, condemned the Trump administration's announcement in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

"Pompeo couldn't be more wrong," Wise said. "Holding ourselves and each other to principles, like those within international law, is essential to bring not just peace, but freedom, equality and justice." The rabbi also called the move "the latest atrocity in the Trump administration's farcical [Middle East] peace plan."

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The Trump administration views the opinion, the basis for long- standing U. S . opposition to expanding the settlements , as a distraction and believes any legal questions about the issue should be addressed by Israeli courts, Pompeo said. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with

The United States has effectively backed Israel ' s right to build Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade position that they were "inconsistent with international law". The announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a victory for Israeli Prime Minister

Emily Mayer, the co-founder of the progressive Jewish-American group IfNotNow, shared similar concerns.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, leaves a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Pompeo spoke about Iran, Iraq, Israeli settlements in the West Bank, protests in Hong Kong, and Bolivia, among other topics. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, leaves a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Pompeo spoke about Iran, Iraq, Israeli settlements in the West Bank, protests in Hong Kong, and Bolivia, among other topics. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

"Trump and his representatives are working in lockstep with the Israeli right, who have for decades disregarded the principles of international law to advance their illegal project of settling the West Bank and dispossessing the Palestinian people," she said in a statement.

Trump has long promised to unveil a Middle East Peace plan, which his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, has been spearheading. But the administration's actions have been widely seen as propping up the right-wing government of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while disregarding the concerns and the rights of the Palestinians.

Israel's settlers and the Palestinians they live among

  Israel's settlers and the Palestinians they live among Israel's settlers and the Palestinians they live amongIsrael's settlements in the occupied West Bank are one of the most heated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians want the area, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, for a future state.

The US has shifted its position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, no longer viewing them as inconsistent with international law. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the previous policy "hadn't worked" and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law "will not

Turning now to Israel , the Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration ’ s approach towards Israeli settlements . Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal

Last year, Trump formally moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the disputed historic city as the Mediterranean nation's capital. Palestinians protested the move, as they also claim the divided city as their historic capital. The Trump administration has also cut funding for the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA), which works to support Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

Gallery: Trump's controversies and scandals while president (Photo Services)

Palestinian leaders have cut communications with the Trump administration, as they do not see the president as a neutral broker in peace negotiations with Israel. In June, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, "There is nothing left to talk about."

"The Trump administration was never focused on promoting peace, but instead on propping up Netanyahu's and Trump's careers and perpetuating Israeli control and dominance over Palestinian land and lives at all costs," Wise said.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group J Street, described Pompeo's announcement as "inconsistent with international law" and another gift for Netanyahu.

ARIEL, WEST BANK - SEPTEMBER 27: Bulldozers begin constructing a new neighborhood on September 27, 2010 in the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the West Bank. Work also to resume reportedly in the West Bank settlements of Revava, Yakir and Kohav Hashahar, following the end of a settlement freeze.   (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) © 2010 Getty Images ARIEL, WEST BANK - SEPTEMBER 27: Bulldozers begin constructing a new neighborhood on September 27, 2010 in the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the West Bank. Work also to resume reportedly in the West Bank settlements of Revava, Yakir and Kohav Hashahar, following the end of a settlement freeze. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

"This announcement is just the latest in a long series of actions by the Trump administration designed to aid the Israeli settlement movement, prevent a two-state solution and provide political gifts to Prime Minister Netanyahu," he said in a statement.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is Jewish, strongly criticized the Trump administration's new position on settlements as well.

"Israeli settlements in occupied territory are illegal. This is clear from international law and multiple United Nations resolutions," Sanders tweeted. "Once again, Mr. Trump is isolating the United States and undermining diplomacy by pandering to his extremist base."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a rally in Warren, Mich., Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a rally in Warren, Mich., Saturday, April 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The announcement came as Netanyahu is set to face formal indictments for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in multiple cases. The right-wing prime minister has also failed in two elections this year to form a new government. After his second failure last month, Netanyahu's political rival, Benny Gantz, was given the mandate by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to attempt to form a new government instead, but that process has also been unsuccessful until now.

"It's hardly a surprise that on the eve of Netanyahu's indictment and Trump's impeachment proceedings we suddenly have the Trump administration throwing the Geneva Convention and international consensus out the window and shamelessly pandering to the right-wing and evangelical base," Wise said.

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