Pompeo Greenlights Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

November 26, 2019

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would not consider that “establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank … [is] inconsistent with international law.” In fact, the exact opposite is true; the US is violating both international and humanitarian law by supporting Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”. This announcement signals the continued problematically uncritical alliance with Israel and dangerous antagonism toward international human rights frameworks.

Despite Pompeo’s claim that the decision “was not tied to … domestic politics anywhere” is conspicuously close to the electoral failure of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this past September. In his bid to retain office, the outcome of which is still to be decided, Netanyahu “pledged to annex parts of the West Bank.” This move essentially ends any peace process talks as more and more land is annexed. It also speaks to the lengths to which they are willing to go to maintain their primary partnership in the region, one which is essentially antagonistic toward the Palestinian people.

The move also highlights the Trump administration’s aversion to international human rights frameworks. Late last year, the Trump administration disavowed such frameworks and expressed a dangerous desire to dislocate from international human rights institutions. By siding with a show of aggression that will lead to ethnic cleansing, they are not only reneging on their responsibility to the Palestinians but also further isolating themselves from the rest of the global community. While the U.S.’s commitment to ensuring a two-state solution which respects the rights of Israelis and Palestinians is historically dubious, their statement is a breach of trust which harms their standing as an arbiter of peace, whether now or during future administrations.



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