By Caroline Glick, CarolineGlick.com—
Monday will long be remembered as a turning point in Middle East history.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement Monday that Israeli settlements are not illegal per se is the most significant shift in U.S. Middle East policy in the past generation. Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital has been a matter of U.S. law since 1996. There was little interest in Washington in recent years in pressuring Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. But the issue of the legality of Israeli settlements has been the defining issue of much of the international discourse on Israel for a generation.
In the vast majority of cases, the discourse has revolved around the widely held allegation – with no basis in actual law – that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal. This allegation has served as the justification for a continuous barrage of condemnations of Israel in international arena and for anti-Israel legal verdicts in international courts including the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2004 and the European Court of Justice last week. The unsupported allegation that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal was also the basis for UN Security Council Resolution 2234 from 2016 and is a basis of the International Criminal Court’s ongoing probes of Israelis.
Pompeo made two revolutionary assertions in his statement. First, he said that “after carefully studying all sides of the legal debate,” like the Reagan administration before it, the Trump administration has concluded, “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
Second, Pompeo noted, the near ubiquitousness of the false assertion that settlements are illegal has not advanced the prospects for peace. To the contrary, it has harmed the chances of getting to peace.
In his words, “calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace.”
And of course, it hasn’t. Placing a lie in the center of the discourse on the Palestinian conflict with Israel is no way to promote understanding and coexistence. Continue Reading….