The Trump Administration Will Recognize Israel Settlements
Start writing a post

The Trump Administration Greenlighting Israeli Settlements Upends Decades Of US Policy

The policy reversal demonstrates the Trump administration's unwavering support for Israel, even in the face of international criticism.

The Trump Administration Greenlighting Israeli Settlements Upends Decades Of US Policy

Decades of American policy were reversed on Monday, November 19 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated the U.S. would no longer consider Israeli settlements a violation of international law.

The United States previously has maintained the stance that Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories violate international law. This viewpoint has been consistent throughout presidencies since 1978 when the Carter administration determined these settlements violated international law and were a hindrance to peace efforts. Ronald Reagan disagreed in 1981, stating the settlements were not inherently illegal, though viewed them as "illegitimate," a position that has been maintained since.

The Trump administration has been consistently pro-Israel, as were previous administrations across the aisle, and this decision to legitimize settlements affirms his close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and disregard of policy precedents. Furthermore, the European Union and many members of the United Nations have maintained that Israeli settlements are illegal, making the Trump administration's shift in policy even more significant.

Why settlements are significant

The appearance and subsequent rapid proliferation of settlements began following the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel gained control of areas previously controlled by Palestinians, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem. An estimated 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements constructed on Palestinian lands, primarily in the West Bank. Hundreds of formal settlements with government oversight are in the West Bank, as well as many more informal settlements with government approval. Many Israelis live in settlements because they are religious Zionists who believe living there is their birthright, though many also live there because housing is significantly cheaper.

Palestinians as a people and their respective representation (primarily the PLO) over the years have voiced their stance that the presence and spread of settlements make a two-state solution, which hinges on the existence of an independent Palestinian state, impossible. This massively complex issue has lent itself to many ideas for solutions, though the international community has consistently supported a two-state solution. Many of the settlements are strategically located so that Israel can maintain a presence in what the government considers volatile environments and others are in more isolated areas to prevent a cohesive Palestinian state.

Impact of decision

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced difficult reelection, for myriad reasons, and he has now failed to create a coalition large enough to form a government, twice. As Netanyahu has tried to gain support, one of his many promises is to annex settlements, accounting for almost one-third of the West Bank, increasing Israeli control. Following Pompeo's statement on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Israel is deeply grateful to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and the entire U.S. administration for their steadfast position supporting truth and justice, and calls upon all responsible countries who hope to advance peace to adopt a similar position."

Concerns about the annexation prospects are rooted in the idea that if these settlement areas were annexed, there is potential for Arabs to outnumber the Jews if they become Israeli citizens. Additionally, if the same Arabs were annexed and not given full citizenship rights, it would be in direct violation of international law with severe consequences. Prime Minister's suggestion of annexation is not new, though the support of the Trump Administration provides an opportune chance to make it a reality.

Supporters of the shift in U.S. policy believe it provides a platform for negotiation over the settlements between Israelis and Palestinians directly. Pompeo stated the regard for international law is not what is going to resolve conflict, but direct negotiation and conversation between the two conflicting peoples. This decision does not come as a surprise to many as it falls in line with Trump's previous decisions regarding Israel. These include his recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli territory in April, which was contested land, as well as the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017, accompanied by the relocation of the U.S. embassy.

Report this Content
Student Life

Odyssey Wants To Know How COVID-19 Is Impacting Your College Experience

Going back to school looks different this year, as every university is handling COVID-19 differently.


As a college student, coronavirus is having a direct impact on your everyday life. Some students have been able to return to campus only to be sent back because of an upsurge in cases. Some have been virtual all year. And some students are back to school, but not back on campus.

Keep Reading... Show less

Netflix's new documentary, "A Love Song For Latasha" is all about 15-year-old Latasha Harlins who was unjustly shot over a $1.79 bottle of orange juice.

Keep Reading... Show less

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, the death toll has hit dramatic heights and impacted each of our lives in different ways.

Keep Reading... Show less

Today is Bisexuality Day and I'm more than ready to give all the bisexuals some love by breaking the stigma. I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you.

Bisexuality is a sexual orientation where people can form attraction and/or relationships to more than one gender. More than half of the LGBTQ community identifies as bisexual but it comes with a ton of bias, discrimination, and violence. And, honestly, bisexuals tend to be forgotten because bi-erasure wants to hold onto biphobia to question the existence and legitimacy of bisexuality.

Keep Reading... Show less

1 Of 3 Officers Involved In Breonna Taylor's Death Were Indicted Today, And ZERO Were Charged For Murder

A warrant is out for the officer's arrest and the judge has set his bond to $15,000.


In the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a grand jury has indicted former detective Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment. The other two officers involved — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and detective Miles Cosgrove — were not charged.

Keep Reading... Show less

Florida Residents, Here Is Your Step-By-Step Guide For Registering To Vote

Every state is different, so get familiar with your county's regulations early!


The 2020 presidential election is coming up fast and it's important now more than ever to know the resources available to voters. With COVID-19, this election looks a bit different this year — mail will be slower, and polls will have longer lines and more health and safety regulations. Because of this, knowing where to register if you haven't already, checking your registration status, and requesting a vote-by-mail ballot is crucial information to be aware of.

Each state has different links and different websites, so this information primarily pertains to Florida residents.

Keep Reading... Show less

CBS Kicking Noah Purvis Off 'Love Island' Continues A Problematic Pattern Of Shaming Sex Workers

Noah Purvis was booted from "Love Island" for violating his contestant agreement, but it seems like there's more to it than that.


Sex work has long been viewed as taboo in American society. The constant shaming of sex work and sex workers alike is beyond hypocritical. First of all, there's a need for sex workers. If you think the majority of people don't watch porn, whether they admit it or not, you're out of touch. Especially nowadays, where porn is easily accessible through the internet.

Keep Reading... Show less

COVID Has Killed 200,000 Americans, But To President Trump, That's 'Virtually Nobody'

Some even expect that number to double by the end of the year.


The United States has just passed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. There have been more than 6.8 million confirmed cases in the U.S. according to Johns Hopkins University.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had barely been dead for 24 hours before the "who will replace her" talk started. Less than two months out from the 2020 election.

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know how to feel. I don't know what to believe. I freaking wrote about Ellen DeGeneres in my college essay, for crying out loud, but now I feel like a fool. Among the 2020 craziness was the Ellen Degeneres controversy that shook her reputation. Comedian Kevin T. Porter encouraged people to share their awful experiences about Ellen and The Ellen Show, and stories came flooding in. On top of that, crew members were mistreated during quarantine and the pandemic and they were rightfully furious.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments