As Israel continues to fight pressure from the international community to cease settlements in the West Bank, the United States announced today we are supporting Israel’s right to settle the disputed land. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a lengthy press conference to make the announcement which included discussions about geopolitical issues across the Middle East.
After condemning Iran for several activities, including killing its own people who are protesting massive gas price hikes announced last week, Pompeo moved on to Iraq protests. The United States supports the Iraqi people protesting government corruption, protests that have also lead to civilian deaths. He noted how the United States has supported Iraq with more humanitarian aid than any other nation, more than $2 billion worth so far.
Then, he turned to Israel. “The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements,” he said.
The United States will no longer consider the settlements in the West Bank illegal per se, reversing the final insulting policy instituted by President Obama in December, 2016, just before leaving office. This also goes against international antagonists to Israel, which is essentially everyone
He condemned violence in Hong Kong and Cuban interference in Bolivia, then turned to Q&A which was mostly about Israel.
One important note in Q&A came when Pompeo was asked if he thought the change in policy would hurt the peace process. He practically laughed at the notion; as he rightly stated, the peace process has nothing to do with international perspectives. Regardless of who believes the settlements are legal or not, the important thing is for Israelis and Palestinians to come to the table. Only they can form a real peace agreement.
This reversal comes less than three years after President Obama made the wrong choice and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Kudos to the administration for righting this wrong.
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