Washington’s berserk move

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THE United States faced stiff international and Palestinian criticism Tuesday over its decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements illegal, while the Jewish state’s premier cheered on the “historic” move. The United Nations and European Union stressed the decision would not change the reality that the settlements were illegal, while the Arab League condemned the unilateral move announced Monday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The US move would hardly make any difference on ground as already 600,000 Jews are settled in about 140 illegal settlements that the Jewish State has built since its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. Irrespective of the belligerent policy of Tel Aviv and now fully endorsed by Washington through this latest berserk move, the fact remains the settlements are illegally being raised on the land that legitimately belonged to Palestinians. The Palestinians have all along been calling for the removal of all settlements, arguing that their presence on land they claim for a future independent Palestinian State makes it almost impossible to make such a state a reality. Endorsement of the Jewish policy by the United States would embolden Israel to expand the network of settlements, thereby pushing the prospects of any peace deal further away. The decision puts the United States at odds with virtually the whole of the rest of the international community and breaks with UN Security Council resolutions declaring settlements to be illegal. Rejecting the US move, the UN too has pointed out that a change in the policy position of one state does not modify existing international law, nor its interpretation by the International Court of Justice and the Security Council. The implications of the move for the Middle-East conflict and peace prospects in the region can be gauged by the fact that Palestinians are viewing the settlements as war crime and believe that the growth of Jewish settlements has essentially killed the potential for a viable two-state solution. The move, coupled with earlier decision of shifting US Embassy to Jerusalem, should leave no doubt that the US is absolutely not an honest broker and is chief patron of the Jewish State and partner in crime.

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