Siding with Israel US seeks to show Iran, Turkey it never abandons its allies — expert

TASS – Washington’s decision to stop viewing Israeli settlements on the West Bank as illegal and violating international law is obviously meant to demonstrate Iran and Turkey that it doesn’t abandon its allies in the region, a Russian expert told TASS on Tuesday.

“It will not tell on the prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. It can be seen as a kind of message to the Palestinians, a message to Iran, and to Turkey, to a certain extent,” said Andrei Bystritsky, chairman of the Valdai International Discussion Club fund’s council.

“The Unites States’ actions are rather symbolic. They signal to everyone that the United States is siding with Israel, that it never betrays its allies. It is a demonstration of the US’ position, its commitment to defend its allies. It is a demonstration of the course the United States would stick to. It would have a greater significance for all should the United States deploy a military base in Israel,” he noted.

The pundit revealed he did not think the gap in the United States’ and the European Union’s positions on Israel’s construction activity would tell on relations between Washington and Brussels as they had much wider gaps. “They have simply exchanged routine statements. The Americans tried to play a sophisticated game, to introduce an element of unexpectedness, to toss a stone into the swamp and watch waves emerging on the surface. It has neither legal nor any other serious significance. These settlements have been in place for quite a time, the Europeans have been condemning them but no practical steps have ever followed. It has been impacting neither economic nor political life,” Bystritsky added.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo informed on Monday that Washington no longer considered Israeli settlements on the West Bank as violating international law. Israel hailed this decision while the Palestinian side said the United States had no authority to annul international resolutions concerning Israeli settlements.

In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2334 demanding Israel stop its settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel refused to implement this document.