Growing unrest across Palestinian populated areas in the West Bank has been reported over the past several days, after the Western-backed Palestinian leadership called for a “day of rage” on Tuesday, over an American policy shift, in which the United States does not necessarily view Israeli settlements on disputed lands as “inconsistent with international law.”
Hundreds of Palestinians, both men and children, answered their leaders’ call – which quickly turned violent in multiple so-called points-of-friction. The American decision to alter its policy was made public by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ten days ago. He underscored that “The hard truth is – there will never be a judicial resolution to the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.” Pompeo further stressed that the decades-old conflict, which he referred to as “a complex political problem”… “can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” That is why, the top American diplomat reiterated, that the Trump Administration remains deeply committed “to helping facilitate peace,” and will do everything it can to help this cause.
The Palestinian leadership quickly condemned the American decision, and vowed to confront it with all means available. Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said “We are to say that this decision makes the American administration a participant with Israel in violating the international law. Israeli settlements are illegal by international law, by the decision of the International Court of Justice and we are here to declare that we will struggle for our rights, for our freedom to end the occupation and to bring down the system of apartheid that Israel has created all over Palestine.”
In support of the Palestinian narrative, the Arab league convened an emergency meeting earlier this week, during which it blatantly rejected Washington’s policy change vis-à-vis Israeli settlements. Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said “Our emergency meeting today was triggered by the illegal and rejected announcement by U.S. Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) several days ago, in which he said that his country no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violations of international law. We consider this announcement an extremely negative development and an unfortunate change of the U.S.’s position. We doubt that the current U.S. administration realizes its true consequences and impact on the long term.”
The Arab league’s secretary General insisted that the Trump Administration policy change negatively impacts any hope of reaching a future peaceful resolution.
Subsequently, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki declared in a press conference to Arab media that the Palestinian leadership views American policy-shift as part of a series of other measures that constitute acts of war against the Palestinian people. He said “The latest decision by the U.S. administration concerning the legitimization of the illegal and illegitimate Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is only part of a series of measures taken by the U.S. against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian just cause. The U.S. administration has completely adopted the Israeli position and has waged war against the Palestinian people and their rights. Consequently, we see this step as part of a war waged by the Trump administration against the Palestinian people and their rights which should not be compromised.”