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Response to US Policy Shift on Settlement Legality

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are disappointed by and strongly oppose the recent policy statement by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring that the U.S. no longer views Israeli West Bank settlements as inconsistent with international law. Pompeo’s statement overturns decades of long-held U.S. policy by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

In Israel, this news is being received by the pro-settlement movement as a green light for future Israeli unilateral annexation of West Bank lands, and several Israeli right wing political leaders are already proposing swift action to begin such annexation. Meanwhile, the announcement deals a blow to Israeli peacebuilding organizations who have worked tirelessly for renewed negotiations towards a two-state future.

Any unilateral move by the Israeli government to annex lands in the West Bank or build new settlements there would ultimately make the prospect of a viable two-state solution all but impossible. Announcements like Pompeo’s, which appease the Israeli far right and shred American credibility as a possible convener of renewed peace negotiations, are not in reality helpful to Israel’s long-term viability as a Jewish and democratic state. We urge the Trump Administration to reverse its position on this matter, and to focus instead on steps that will help bring the leadership of Israel and the Palestinian Authority back into productive negotiations towards a two-state agreement.


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