U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on during a brief photo opportunity at the U.S. Department of State on November 18, 2019 in Washington, DC (Photo: AFP)
The United States no longer considers Israeli settlements to be "inconsistent with international law," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday, in a shift in American foreign policy.
"After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees... (the) establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law," Pompeo said.
Until now, US policy was based, at least in theory, on a legal opinion issued by the State Department in 1978, which said that establishing of settlements in the Palestinian territories went against international law.
The US shift could be interpreted as a boost for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling to stay in power after failing to form a coalition government.