Pompeo expected to announce softening of US position on Israeli settlements

Pompeo expected to announce softening of US position on Israeli settlements

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Overnight Defense: Trump downplays troops' concussion injuries in Iran attack | Dems offer case against Trump on day two of trial | UN links Saudis to hack of Bezos' phone Pompeo willing to testify in impeachment trial if 'legally required' MORE will reportedly announce a relaxation of U.S. policy towards the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, a move that is supported by Israel's government but will likely be condemned by Palestinian officials.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Pompeo will announce an end to a State Department legal opinion first established in 1978 that found further construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian-controlled territories to be “inconsistent with international law," according to The Associated Press.

The State Department did not immediately confirm the AP's reporting when contacted for comment by The Hill. Such a move would likely further embolden Israeli settlement efforts and weaken Palestinian claims of sovereignty over areas of the West Bank that are the site of settlement construction.

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The AP reports that the Trump administration sees such questions as best left to Israeli courts, despite a 1979 U.N. Security Council resolution determining "that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity."

In his remarks Monday, Pompeo will reportedly say that such declarations have not "advanced the cause of peace," according to the AP.

“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” a draft of his remarks reads, according to the AP. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”