US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement that the Trump Administration will no longer view Israeli settlements as against international law is another step taken by the Trump Administration to thwart and bury the idea of a peace process, and further solidifying Israel as an apartheid state, the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) said in a statement.
"This administration's complete disregard for international law, and over four decades of American policy, undermines and delegitimizes the US on the global stage – the international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal," it said.
ADC said that it is "committed to a just and lasting peace in the region, and any peaceful resolution of the conflict requires the cessation of expansion and dismantlement of all settlements; an end to the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian population as a result of Israeli occupation policies; an end to the siege of Gaza; the exercise of the democratic rights of Palestinians in electing their government; the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the upholding of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees under international law."
It added: "Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that 'The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.' Israel has been illegally settling on Palestinian land since 1948 with impunity, and encouragement from the US. With his remarks today Secretary Pompeo did not address whether or not Israel violated international law, instead he indicated that international law is meaningless – which is a mark of an authoritarian regime."
ADC said the Trump Administration "has given a green light to Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government to continue the annexation of Palestinian land. These actions are extreme positions that undermine any possibility of peace. These actions continue to legitimize violence and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. This will only lead to the furtherance of an Israeli apartheid state where Palestinians are treated as second class citizens."