Tuesday, November 19, 2019

International Law

"Israeli settlements: Trump administration engages in mind-boggling legal acrobatics to justify the unjustifiable" (Ruebner):
"In addition to overturning a four-decade-old legal opinion on Israeli settlements, Pompeo's statement was also alarming for at least two further reasons.

First, it seeks to codify a deference to Israeli unilateralism on final status issues that all previous administrations agreed needed to be negotiated directly between Israel and the Palestinians.

Now, however, the Trump administration has made clear that the Israeli judicial system will be the only determinant of the scale of Israel's colonisation of Palestinian land. "The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it," Pompeo claimed. "Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others cannot be legally sustained.

True, in a few instances Israeli courts have ruled in favour of removing settlement outposts established without the government's authorisation and have rerouted segments of Israel's illegal West Bank wall. However, these are exceptions that prove the rule: Israeli courts have overwhelmingly supplied a judicial veneer of "legality" to Israel's illegal colonization of Palestinian land.

Second, and perhaps even more disturbing not only for Israeli-Palestinian issues but for US foreign policy in general, was Pompeo's wholesale disregard for and repudiation of international law as a paradigm for conflict resolution.

"Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn't worked. It hasn't advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace," Pompeo argued.

To the extent that the Trump administration's erratic, Twitter-driven foreign policy can be said to have any coherence, this extraordinary statement by Pompeo may go down in history as the Trump Doctrine: international law is inimical to advancing peace and right and wrong is determined by power, not principle."

"Trump Goes to Israel: Another Settler from the United States?" (Giraldi):
"Also, in a statement that should offend and serve as a wake-up call for all of America’s remaining Arab friends, Trump described how he was able to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He claimed that when he received calls from Arab leaders objecting to the proposed shift, he refused to speak to them, saying to his aides “Just tell them I’m very busy, I’ll call them back. And then I did it, we got it done, it’s done. And then I announced it, and then I went into the office, I made about 25 calls…. I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s done already; there’s nothing I could do about it.’ It’s much easier. I say, ‘I’m sorry, I wish I could have gotten back to you sooner.’”"
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