Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent statement of policy by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The article reports:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that the U.S. does not regard Israeli settlements on the West Bank as illegal. He thus reversed the position taken by former Secretary of State John Kerry in the dying days of the Obama administration.
Pompeo explained that, after carefully studying the issue, he concluded that President Reagan got it right when he found that the settlements are not illegal. Reagan had reversed the position taken by the Carter administration.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Benny Gantz both support this move.
The article also notes:
Caroline Glick views Pompeo’s statement as a diplomatic turning point. She writes:
Pompeo’s statement is first and foremost an extraordinary gesture of support for Israel and the rights of the Jewish people on the part of President Donald Trump and his administration. But from a U.S. perspective, it also represents a key advance in Trump’s realist foreign policy.
Since taking office, Trump has worked consistently to align U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond to the world as it is, rather than to the world as “experts” imagine it to be. In the Middle East, this realignment of U.S. policy has provided the nations of the region – including Israel and the Palestinians – with the first chance of reaching genuine peace they have ever had.
I doubt that the Palestinians have any desire for genuine peace, and therefore doubt that Pompeo’s statement will move the parties closer to such a peace. However, I agree with Glick that Pompeo’s realism (and President Trump’s) about West Bank settlements is a prerequisite for real progress in any meaningful peace process.
Another thing that needs to be considered is that the ‘settlements’ are not really settlements–they are thriving communities that include hospitals, schools, and infrastructure. We have learned from experience that when the so-called Palestinians are given territory they do not built infrastructure–they use whatever financial aid they are given to build terrorist tunnels and buy rockets and ammunition. Until that changes, I see no point in negotiating to give any territory to them.