Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank area has been one of the most important issues plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians want control of the West Bank area that has been under Israeli control in a 1967 war, to build a future state. According to reports, there are more than 120 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Benjamin Netanyahu, again promised to annex them as a part of his election campaign, causing concern for the Palestinians.
Most of the international community is of the opinion that the Israeli settlements are illegal and are a hindrance to Israeli-Palestinian peace. This is a notion that has been widely contested by Israel. However, in a dramatic turn of events, the United States of America stated that the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian occupied land were not illegal, causing a break with international policies, and the positions of many American allies.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that questioning the legality of such settlements should be done by the courts in Israel. He further added that such a decision could help bring the Israelis and Palestinians together in order to arrive at a mutual political decision. He also said that the US declaration will not prejudice the settlement between both the communities.
The US declaration marks the dismissal of a 2016 United Nations resolution that terms the settlements on the West Bank as a direct violation of International law and USA's legal stance on the issue since 1978. It is also a rejection of the 4th Geneva convention, which prohibits the transfers of people by authorities in control. A member of the Yesha Council, an Israeli settler organisation, stated that the decision taken by the US meant that it was the perfect time for Israel's government to immediately claim authority over the settlements, a move that will be widely considered as an end to the aspirations of the Palestinians.
In response to this, one of the Palestinian politicians, Saeb Erekat, stated that the decision taken by the US is showcasing the limit to which it is causing a threat to the International System with its attempts to change to International laws according to their benefit. Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, also posted a tweet that berated the settlements and called it a direct violation of International law.
Settlements in occupied #Palestine are a blatant violation of Int’l law & UNSCRs. They are an illegal action that’ll kill 2-state solution. Jordan’s position in condemning them is unwavering. We warn against dangerous consequences of US change of position on settlements on MEPP— Ayman Safadi (@AymanHsafadi) November 18, 2019
European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, stated that even after the decision taken by the US, the policy of the EU remained the same wherein all settlement activities were deemed to be illegal under the international law and also it destroyed the credibility of the two-state solution and the chance of a peaceful environment.
The Israel-Palestine conflict can be traced back to 1948 with the creation of Israel in the same year. This conflict came into existence due to intercommunal violence in Palestine that blew out of proportion and escalated into full-blown tension in the 1947-1948 civil war.
(With inputs from agencies)