“While I appreciate your interest in this important issue, I couldn’t disagree more with those two foolish positions,” Pompeo wrote in a letter to Levin.
By World Israel News Staff
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s decision regarding Jewish settlements in a letter on Monday to Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.).
The sharply worded letter was sent in response to one sent by Levin and co-signed by 106 other House Democrats, including Reps. Omar Ilhan, Rashida Tlaib and Maxine Waters.
“While I appreciate your interest in this important issue, I couldn’t disagree more with those two foolish positions,” Pompeo wrote to Levin.
Pompeo referred to two assertions by Levin. First, that the administration’s decision to reject a 1978 State Department legal opinion that Jewish settlements violate international law “reverses decades of bipartisan U.S. policy on settlements.”
The secretary of state wrote that the decision didn’t reverse U.S. policy, but ‘rather, the State Department reversed a legal determination by secretary Kerry made during the waning days of the Obama administration, that the establishment of settlements was categorically inconsistent with international law.
“That determination was made in a failed attempt to justify the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel in allowing UNSCR 2334,” Pompeo wrote.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 was a resolution passed on December 23, 2016 that stated that Israeli settlement activity constituted a “flagrant violation” of international law.
The U.S., which Israel normally could count on to veto such resolutions, voted uncharacteristically in favor.
The second “foolish” position, according to Pompeo, was Levin’s claim that the administration’s decision “blatantly disregards Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
“The Trump administration has thoroughly reviewed and analyzed this issue and we respectfully disagree. Among the numerous sources and authorities supporting this view, I commend to you the writings of Eugene Rostow, who left his position as Dean of the Yale Law School to become Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson administration…
“Dean Rostow stated in 1983 that ‘Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank,” Pompeo wrote.