By COLlive reporter
In a dramatic announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States does not view the settlements as operating in contravention of international law.
Pompeo notified about the reversal in a press conference on Monday, rejecting a 1978 State Department legal opinion that deemed the settlements “inconsistent with international law” of the administration of President Jimmy Carter which was enacted again by the administration of President Barack Obama.
The announcement is the latest pro-Israel decision of the administration of President Donald Trump, adding to his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan: the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo said, citing President Ronald Reagan‘s 1981 assessment that the settlements were not “inherently illegal.”
Pompeo said the US government is “expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement” or “addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank.”
In a first response to the announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a “historic day” and said that the decision “put an end to the lie that the settlements are illegal.”
The Chief Foreign Envoy of the Yesha Council Oded Revivi thanked the US for the move and urged the Israeli government to apply Israeli law immediately in Judea and Samaria.
“I congratulate President Trump and his government on the truly courageous recognition, settlements are not a crime and not a barrier to peace,” he said in a statement to COLlive.com.
He said that the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has clarified the reality of the situation and the legal status of Judea and Samaria. “Now is the time to take action utilizing our political and legal platforms to apply Israeli law,” Revivi said.