Trump administration declares that the US no longer considers “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements inconsistent with international law”

The statement reverses a 1978 US State Department legal opinion that categorized the settlements in the West Bank as being “inconsistent with international law.” Various Presidents since then have classified the settlements as “illegal,” “an obstacle to peace” (in the context of a two-state solution). Immediately, the UN, European Union, and Palestinian Authority leadership condemn Washington’s unilateral declaration. Previously, numerous UN Security Council Resolutions have declared the entire area—including Jerusalem—as “occupied territory.” Some 400,000 plus Israelis live in the West Bank of the Jordan River, an area taken by Israel during the June 1967 War.