Palestine warns breaking off relations with US over ‘legalization’ of West Bank settlements is imminent
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Palestine warns breaking off relations with US over ‘legalization’ of West Bank settlements is imminent

“We are ready to go to a complete breakdown of relations with [the US],” Abbas told Russian journalists on Tuesday. He explained that “almost every country in the world” has condemned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement legitimizing the settlements last week, and Palestinian authorities were not willing to let such a brash move go unaddressed. “The US administration has long been hostile to the Palestinian people,” Abbas continued, recalling that President Donald Trump's so-called “deal of the century” kicked off by cutting off Palestinian refugee aid through UNRWA and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Palestine has been “boycotting” White House initiatives since Trump announced the embassy move in December 2017, and has even taken Washington to court over the move – to no avail.  However, the two states maintain security ties, for now. Pompeo declared last week that Israeli settlements were no longer inconsistent with international law, reversing a 1978 State Department legal opinion and setting Washington at odds with the rest of the world, which considers the settlements – built on occupied land and restricted to Jewish inhabitants – illegal. While Pompeo tried to play down the significance of that statement, it is the latest in a series of extremely one-sided policy decisions by the Trump administration regarding Israel and Palestine, from recognizing Israel's occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights to merging its Palestinian consulate with the new Jerusalem Israeli embassy. Abbas stated earlier this year that the US, by showing such partiality to Israel, had lost any sort of authority to be a mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Trump administration's long-promised “deal of the century” is expected to heavily favor Israel, but its release has been delayed by over a year as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's future looks increasingly insecure.

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