News Analysis: U.S. support for Israeli settlements in West Bank undermines two-state solution

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-20 03:00:40|Editor: huaxia
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by Emad Drimly

GAZA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian observers believe that the U.S. announcement that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate the international law undermines the internationally-backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The observers highlighted that Washington's stance threatens to bring the conflict back to zero point, help prolong the conflict in the Middle East and kill solutions consistent with the resolutions of international legitimacy.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. government will no longer consider Israel's West Bank settlements "inconsistent" with the international law, a move that may further dim the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Pompeo said in a press conference that the decision, which reversed the Obama administration's position on the issue, had been made based on the "reality on the ground."

The U.S. top diplomat also noted that this announcement should not be viewed as the U.S. government "addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank."

In response, the Palestinian presidency condemned Pompeo's remarks, saying the U.S. decision contradicts the international law.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, said in an official press statement that Pompeo's remarks violate "the resolutions of the international legitimacy and the UN Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution 2334."

Nabil Amr, a former Palestinian diplomat, agreed that the U.S. decision totally contradicts the international consensus that Israeli settlements are illegal and constitute an obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.

"The legitimacy of settlements is not determined by an American government or any other governments in the world," Amr said.

"By adopting such illogical and immoral decision to legitimize settlement, the United States is obstructing peace that has become impossible during the time of President Donald Trump," he added.

Meanwhile, George Jokman, head of the Institute for Democratic Studies in Ramallah, said Washington's successive decisions against the Palestinian issue go against the U.S. intention to present a peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"Instead of paving the way for a peaceful solution that has been long awaited, the United States has blocked ways to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," the expert noted.

The Trump administration has further complicated the situation by attempting to impose solutions on the Palestinians and blackmailing them politically and economically in order to make them give up their rights and to eliminate any real opportunities for the establishment of a Palestinian state, Jokman explained.

Political ties between the United States and the Palestinian Authority have been severed right after U.S. President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017. Washington moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May last year.

In fact, the Trump administration took a series of unprecedented decisions last year, such as closing the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington and cutting off financial support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Washington has so far refrained from putting forward its peace plan, dubbed "Deal of the Century," as it had promised before.

The Palestinians have long refused to accept this plan as it is not yet clearly based on the two-state solution.

Ahmed Rafik Awad, a Ramallah-based political analyst, said the Trump administration has unprecedentedly supported Israel's right-wing plans to undermine any real chance of an independent, geographically connected Palestinian state.

He warned that the U.S. decision about settlement terminates the Oslo Accord, an interim peace agreement signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993, and aborts the dream of establishing an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 border.

According to the latest Palestinian data, around 400,000 Israelis live in 135 settlements and 100 illegal outposts in the West Bank, where the Palestinian population has reached 2.6 million.

Israeli settlement activity is deemed illegal by most world powers and the international law. It is considered one of the major issues that caused the collapse of the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis in 2014.