The real beneficiary of US recognition of the settlements is not Israel

Israeli soldiers overlooking East Jerusalem. (photo: Getty Images)
It’s not clear what benefit America derives from this move, but Russia’s occupation of Crimea gains immediate legitimacy.

By Alex Zeldin | Forward | Nov 18, 2019

Whether the move is a correct reading of international law or not, it’s not clear what American national interest is advanced by claiming Israeli West Bank settlements are legal.

Most days, you could be forgiven for not paying attention to shifts in diplomatic policy stances. But on Monday afternoon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a policy change with potentially far reaching implications. He announced that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”

The announcement will shift little on the ground. Its effect is more rhetorical than practical. But the primary beneficiary of this rhetorical flourish is not Israel but another country entirely: Russia. And the real loser is not just the Palestinians but America.

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