The illegal occupation of the West Bank by Israel for the last 52 years has been the most contentious issue between the two states, Palestine and Israel. But in its latest controversial move related to the Palestine-Israeli issue, the Trump administration has validated the Israeli occupation, which is recognised as illegal under international law and acknowledged by the international community as such through various UN Resolutions. In doing so, the US has rejected its own long-standing position on the illegality of the Israeli settlements. The latest international consensus on the illegality of Israeli settlements was strongly expressed through the UNSC Resolution 2234 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2016. It was passed 14-0 with only the US among the permanent members abstaining.
But this is only the latest of several contentions acts in the Palestine-Israel issue. This has once again demonstrated the US’ scant regard for public opinion or international law. We join the government and the UN Security Council in expressing our denunciation of the US decision.
It is regrettable that the Trump administration should disregard and discard all international conventions and laws regarding the Palestine-Israel conflict. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attempt to rationalise the latest US action with the most convoluted logic was deplorable and pathetic. One can recall the recent US decisions to move its Embassy to Jerusalem, to close the Palestinian office in Washington, DC, and to shut down the US Consulate in Jerusalem along with cutting assistance to the West Bank and Gaza. These only show the US government’s unwillingness to help bring about a permanent resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. It will seriously affect the prospect of a Two-State Solution. The US should understand that by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it has invalidated itself as an honest broker in the conflict. In fact, the US, instead of trying to solve the problem, has become a part of the problem.
It is an irony that the US should jump promptly to punish other states by economic sanctions and calling them “rogue states” for alleged violation of international law and UN resolutions, when no such laws have been violated, but supports actions and policies that amounts to roguish behaviour. The US has a set a dangerous precedent for the future.