Trump is systematically ending the viability of a future Palestinian state

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An Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP / Getty Images)
The Trump administration’s announcement about Israeli settlements was just the latest draconian measure targeting Palestinians.

By Joshua Leifer | The Guardian | Nov 19, 2019

This kind of refusal to enforce the overwhelming international legal consensus on Israeli settlements has been a hallmark of US policy on Israel-Palestine. Pompeo’s announcement is, without doubt, a step beyond what previous administrations were willing to consider. But the difference between this decision and previous US decisions to disregard international law is a difference of degree, not kind.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Monday — that the US will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories a violation of international law — is, in many ways, a near-perfect encapsulation of the Trump administration’s approach to Israel-Palestine.

Couched in grotesque doublespeak, it claims to advance “the cause of peace” while signaling US approval of Israel’s brutal, perpetual military rule over the roughly 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. It is part and parcel of the Trump administration’s ongoing, concerted efforts to undermine international legal frameworks for addressing human rights violations (and not just in Israel-Palestine). And it is yet more proof, not that more was needed, that the Trump administration is actively pursuing a post-two-state-solution agenda.

Indeed, for an administration marked by erratic decision-making and sudden reversals, Trump’s has been thoroughly systematic when it comes to ending the viability of a future Palestinian state. This, of course, is no surprise. In a clear harbinger of what was to come, rightwing pro-Israel operatives close to Donald Trump — among them David Friedman, now US ambassador to Israel, and Jason Greenblatt, former special envoy to the Middle East — successfully removed support for a two-state solution from the 2016 Republican party’s platform.

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