US Secretary of State touted the Trump administration’s pro-Israel bona fides and steps to combat anti-Semitism in a video address Wednesday, broadcast during the Kohelet Policy Forum’s conference.
“I want to thank my friends at the Kohelet Forum, including your chairman, Moshe Koppel, for supporting the Trump administration’s legal conclusion on Israeli settlements. It is important that we speak the truth when the facts lead us to it. And that’s what we’ve done,’ said Pompeo.
“We’re recognizing that these settlements don’t inherently violate international law. That is important. We’re disavowing the deeply flawed 1978 Hansell memo, and we’re returning to a balanced and sober Reagan era approach.”
The Hansell Memorandum, named after State Department legal advisor Herbert J. Hansell, ruled Israeli towns in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights as being “inconsistent with international law”, citing Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Hansell’s position was adopted by the Carter administration, while the Reagan administration which succeeded it abandoned the position that Israeli civilian settlements in areas beyond the pre-1967 Green Line are inherently illegal.
“In doing so, we’re advancing the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” continued Pompeo.
“We’ve declared that anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism. We’ve denounced the BDS movement in the strongest terms. We’ve encouraged companies and countries to bring jobs and wealth to the West Bank. And President Trump was the first American president to ever host a religious freedom event at the United Nations.”
“Israel is America’s greatest friend and ally in the Middle East, and may it always be so.”