Israeli settlements were established in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war on land that was already occupied by Palestinians, the land's original habitants. The illegal communities continue to be condemned to this day by the international community and human rights organizations.
However, the U.S. recently decided it wants to simply scrap their illegality.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision came after Trump's administration carefully studied "all sides of the legal debate." What they came up with after looking into the matter was that occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank "is not, per se, inconsistent with international law."
"Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace," Pompeo explained.
This means U.S. President Donald Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that was made public under the reign of former president Jimmy Carter, which states Israeli settlements were "inconsistent with international law." The legal stance had been adopted by the U.S. up until Barack Obama's term.
Pompeo went on to explain that under the new consideration, the legality of individual settlements will be decided by Israeli courts. He even had the audacity to say that "there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace."
Thousands criticized the U.S. over the recent declaration, saying it would bring all Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations to a halt because it backtracks on criminalizing Israel's unjust actions.
However, the secretary of state rejected these opinions, claiming the decision would not jeopardize a peaceful settlement. Instead, he hinted that the move could motivate Israelis and Palestinians to come together to find a political solution.
While Pompeo's announcement was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was entirely rejected by Palestinians.
"Once again, with this announcement, the Trump administration is demonstrating the extent to which it's threatening the international system with its unceasing attempts to replace international law with the 'law of the jungle'," senior Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat said.
The decision has already been rejected by the UN and EU
The U.S.' declaration contradicts a 2016 UN security council resolution that states settlements on the West Bank are a "flagrant violation" of international law.
It also is an official renouncement of the Fourth Geneva Convention, "which outlaws transfers of population by an occupying power, and a new rift with US allies in Europe and in the Islamic world."
In response to the news, the UN's human rights office (OHCHR) reinstated its long-standing position "on the issue that Israeli settlements are in breach of international law."
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the Union's policy on Israeli settlements "is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace."
The news sparked outrage among Palestinians and Arabs
Naturally, news of the U.S. overturning its previous stance on settlements angered many.
Critics bashed Trump's administration for dealing yet another blow to the Palestinian cause and trying to legitimize Israel's destruction of people's homes. Many said the move would formally allow Israel to go ahead with the formal annexation of the West Bank.
This isn't the first time Trump and his officials take a blatantly biased pro-Israeli stance on things. In 2017, the current U.S. President recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He formally opened an embassy in the city a year later.
Last year, the country also announced it would be cutting contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
People's reactions to the latest move reflect the anger building up over the past few years and their message to the U.S. administration is unified: No matter what is said or done, nothing can change the truth that Israel is an occupying state built on illegal apartheid.