US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders condemned Washington’s announcement that it no longer considers Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal.
Sanders said the Trump administration is isolating the US internationally with its declaration and that the settlements are illegal under international law.
The policy change that goes against the position of almost the entirety of the international community and a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions, was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington.
According to Pompeo, US public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades.
Explaining the reasons behind the decision, Pompeo said the controversial move came as a result of a “legal review” of the State Department opinion on the settlements from 1978, however, reactions exploded both domestically and internationally.
Another US Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, said that if elected, she would reverse the decision.
“Another blatantly ideological attempt by the Trump administration to distract from its failures in the region,” she tweeted.
Not only do these settlements violate international law – they make peace harder to achieve. As president, I will reverse this policy and pursue a two-state solution.
Moreover, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted today that Israeli settlements violate international law and called US President Donald Trump “a lawless king-like dictator.”
Israel's settlements in the West Bank violate international law. No matter what this corrupt and immoral Trump regime (yeah he is a lawless king-like dictator) say, it doesn't change that fact. #FreePalestine & #ImpeachmentTrumpNow
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 19, 2019
Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar also tweeted in response to the US declaring Israeli settlements legal by quoting Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
She wrote: “Israeli settlements violate international law, decades of US foreign policy, and the human rights of Palestinians. All who believe in the possibility of peace must speak up in this moment. ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.'”
A spokesperson for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the move by Washington “contradicts totally with international law”.
Throughout his presidency Trump has ripped up the rule book on Israel-Palestine, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Jerusalem and then formally recognised Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights in March.
Following Pompeo’s statement, the US embassy in Jerusalem warned Americans about travelling in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
“The US embassy advises US citizens in or considering travel to or through Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness in light of the current environment,” it said in a statement.