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Over 100 House Democrats condemn policy shift on Israel settlements

A general view of Halamish Jewish settlement after United States announced Israeli settlements in West Bank don’t violate international law, in Ramallah, West Bank on 20 November 2019. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]
A general view of Israeli settlements in the West Bank on 20 November 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

More than 100 House Democrats have condemned the Trump administration's policy shift on Israeli settlements, writing in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reported the Hill.

In the letter, the Democratic representatives wrote to express "strong disagreement" with the decision to abandon a long-held position on the illegality of the settlements.

"The State Department's unilateral reversal on the status of settlements, without any clear legal justification, therefore has offered a tacit endorsement of settlements, their expansion, and associated demolitions of Palestinian homes," the lawmakers wrote.

After Pompeo's announcement, numerous global bodies and governments clarified that the settlements are indeed illegal, including the United Nations and several US allies.

READ: Israel's next move is the real danger in the US decision to normalise illegal Jewish settlements

According to the lawmakers, the policy shift follows other decisions taken by the Trump administration that have "severely damaged prospects for peace", including the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and halting aid to programmes in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The letter was led by Representative Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and joined by 106 Democrats, including Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who told the Hill that the announcement marked "an abrupt departure from longstanding U.S policy, Republican and Democrat".

In the Jerusalem Post, analyst Jonathan Rynhold described the letter as another indication of how Israel has "become a part of partisan American politics in a way that it never has been before".

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