Trump Says Israeli Settlements Are Legal. Yawn.

Shadi Hatem/APA Images via ZUMA

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The Trump administration announced on Monday that it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Symbolically this is a big deal, I suppose, but in real-world terms it’s meaningless. The peace process has been dead for the past 20 years, and over that time Israel has made it brutally clear that it eventually intends to annex its West Bank settlements by main force. There is nothing that will change its mind.

Rightly or wrongly, then, Trump’s announcement doesn’t matter—aside from its effect on domestic US politics, of course. In that realm, this is mostly a shoutout to Trump’s evangelical Christian fans.

So count me as relatively untroubled by all this. After 20 years I’m willing to accept reality whether I like it or not. Practically speaking, the settlements are Israeli territory regardless of whether they are “illegal” under international law. It’s probably time to stop pretending otherwise.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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