Trump’s administration wants to hit the last nail in the coffin of any possibility of a peaceful solution to the Palestine-Israel issue before leaving the White House. The United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s unprecedented visit to a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is a direct attack on the independence movement of the Palestinians. Pompeo is looking to advance the hardline policies of the current US administration in the region and aid Israel to consolidate its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Pompeo’s trip is significant, as it can change the global position on Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian lands. The US government looks to be taking practical steps to change the US position on Israel’s civilian settlements in the West Bank, which will push the Palestinians further to the wall. Pompeo’s belief that “calling these settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t advanced the cause of peace” will destabilise the region in ways unthinkable.

Furthermore, Pompeo’s press statement initiating new guidelines regarding country of origin for goods from settlements is another blow to the rights of Palestinians. The new guidelines will help legitimise Israel’s occupation. Moreover, in the long run, they are aimed to alter the opinion of the European courts that reject Israel’s claim that goods from the settlements come from Israel. Pompeo’ last trip to the region has not only whitewashed the history of the conflict.

Besides, the Secretary has fulfilled the wish of Israel by declaring one of the most effective global movements, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Semitic. Labelling the BDS movement anti-Semitic means that any illegal action of Israel will be immune from any criticism. Moreover, Pompeo’s statements undermine the rulings of international law on civilian settlements on Palestinian lands.

Such McCarthyite attempts to make Israel’s occupation a legal one are not acceptable. President-elect Joe Biden must reverse the latest changes that the Secretary of State’s office has brought to the foreign policy of the US. If Mr Biden does not nullify the new developments, dreaming of a stable Middle East will remain an illusion.