Trump Administration’s Announcement on Legality of Settlements Discards Decades of US Policy, Hands Destructive Gift to Israeli Right

November 18, 2019

In response to the Trump administration’s announcement that – contrary to decades of bipartisan US policy – it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be “inconsistent with international law,” J Street’s President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement

“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. 

Coming at a moment when Prime Minister Netanyahu is struggling desperately for political survival and faces imminent indictment for corruption, the timing of this announcement can only be read as a last-ditch attempt to boost the prime minister’s personal prospects. 

With their actions and rhetoric, the president and his advisers have given the Israeli government carte blanche to expand settlements, entrench occupation and move toward formal annexation of the West Bank. By discarding decades of bipartisan US policy and flagrantly disregarding international law, they are trampling on the rights of Palestinians and helping the Israeli right-wing to destroy Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. 

The International Court of Justice and the United Nations have made clear the judgment of the world that Israel’s settlement enterprise is illegal under international law. This administration’s attempt to unilaterally erase those judgments only further shatters America’s limited remaining credibility in the region and around the world. 

In light of this announcement, it’s more important than ever that Congress move quickly to pass House Resolution 326, which reaffirms support for the two-state solution, notes longstanding US opposition to settlement expansion and clearly opposes any steps toward the formal annexation of the West Bank. While this administration is shredding fundamental norms of US foreign policy, responsible lawmakers must push back — there is no time to waste.” 

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