In September, days before he was due to run in a national election, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he meant to annex Jewish settlements, but gave only a vague timeframe. "The U.S. public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades".
"The establishment of Israeli settlements in [Judea and Samaria] is not, per se, inconsistent with worldwide law", said Pompeo.
Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, said on Twitter ahead of Pompeo's statement, that the move was "another blow to worldwide law, justice & peace".
The conflict was halted on Thursday when the two sides agreed to a ceasefire.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Heritage Foundation's annual President's Club Meeting in Washington on October 22, 2019.
A masked demonstrator who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the goal of this march "is to show Israel that we will never be silenced as it continues its bombing against Gaza, and its violation in the West Bank".
"The support we received in many sectors in the U.S., including Democrats, Republicans and within the State Department, created a critical mass", said Psagot CEO Yaakov Berg.
The areas in question include the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
Settler leaders and right-wing politicians on Monday cheered a move by the United States to repudiate a State Department legal opinion that said West Bank settlements were illegal, calling on Jerusalem to annex the territory.
The Palestinians and most of the world say the settlements undermine hopes for a two-state solution by gobbling up land sought by the Palestinians. However, when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he reversed that decision; Pompeo indicated Monday the USA was returning to the Reagan-era position. "It bothers me that an ally that's that close and important to us would do that to us".
We provided a space for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate.
Israel's transportation minister, Betzalel Smotrich, head of a pro-settler party, said ahead of the USA announcement, which was expected, that is would be "an appropriate response to the hypocritical decision by the European court". In June, as Common Dreams reported, audio leaked of Pompeo admitting the administration's peace plans had little chance of passage due to the way they treated the Palestinians.
However, he warned that the statement wasn't meant to send a message to approve further settlements, saying it is "intended to be a legal review".
"It hasn't worked", Pompeo said about the Obama administration's move.
The demonstrators torched tires and blocked the road near the Israeli military checkpoint at the Bet El settlement, an Israeli settlement located in the center of the West Bank, in expression of anger over the casualties in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the operation, dubbed "Black Belt", a success saying that the objective was achieved, namely, taking out Abu al-Ata.
Pompeo essentially rejected a 1978 State Department legal opinion holding that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are "inconsistent with worldwide law". "In fact, we are called Jews because we are the people of Judea", he remarked.
"All settlement activity is illegal under worldwide law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334", the statement said.