Trump comments hamper efforts towards peace in the Middle East

Author:Mr Paul Gregoire
Profession:Sydney Criminal Lawyers

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced on 18 November that his country no longer recognises Israeli West Bank settlements as being in breach of international law. And while the move may benefit Trump domestically, ultimately, it harms the beleaguered Palestinian people.

The Israeli state's establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory that's been occupied since the 1967 Six Day War, involves increasing encroachments upon land where Indigenous communities live. And it's recognised that this program directly breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Despite international condemnation, the Netanyahu regime last year passed the controversial Nation-State Law, which actively promotes further expansion of these settlements. And this legislation also legitimised Israel's apartheid system, officially recognising Palestinians as second-class citizens.

And this isn't the first time that Trump's taken aim at the Palestinians, whilst reinforcing the US relationship with Israel. After he officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US embassy was moved there on 14 May last year, as Israeli forces shot dead 58 unarmed Palestinian protesters.

Disregarding international frameworks

"The reality is that the settlements have all but destroyed any hope of a two state solution," said Australia Palestine Advocacy Network president Bishop George Browning. "And for Trump to legitimise them is for the US to commit to the end of this possibility."

"Ultimately, two peoples of similar population size have to live peaceably together," he further explained. "Every time a statement is made, or action taken that results in exulting one side and diminishing the other, leaves prospects for long term peace and harmony a distant dream."

Bishop Browning told Sydney Criminal Lawyers that "Trump is largely playing to his own electorate", which contains a sizable amount of conservative evangelicals. And he stressed the...

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