Churches for Middle East Peace
us settlements policy

In Shift, U.S. Says Israeli Settlements in West Bank Do Not Violate International Law
A look at changes in U.S. policy regarding settlements, renewal of the UNRWA’s mandate, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, at the White House in September. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

settlement policy

In shift, U.S. says Israeli settlements in West Bank do not violate international law
New York Times

“The Trump administration declared on Monday (Nov. 18) that the United States does not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law, reversing four decades of American policy and removing what has been an important barrier to annexation of Palestinian territory. The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the latest political gift from the Trump administration to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed in two elections this year to push for the annexation of the West Bank. His chief opponent, Benny Gantz, has until Wednesday night to gather a majority in Israel’s Parliament or he will relinquish his chance to form a new government, raising the prospect of a third round of elections.” 

Read CMEP’s statement unequivocally opposing the U.S.' recognition of settlements

Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, at the White House in September. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

product labeling

US embassy in Jerusalem warns of Palestinian unrest over settlements decision
Times of Israel

“The US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday (Nov. 18) issued a travel warning for Americans planning to visit Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, warning of Palestinian unrest in light of Washington’s settlement policy shift announced earlier in the day. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US was softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and repudiating a 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that they were ‘inconsistent with international law.’ The move angered Palestinians and immediately put the US at odds with other nations working to end the conflict."

Image: Palestinians protest against US President Donald Trump's so-called Deal of the Century, in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 22, 2019. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

jordan valley annex

After US settlement shift, PM said backing push to quickly annex Jordan Valley
Times of Israel

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly threw his support Monday (Nov. 18) evening behind a bill proposing to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley — about a quarter of the West Bank — shortly after the United States, in a major policy shift, announced that it no longer views settlements as ‘inconsistent with international law.’ The bill was proposed earlier this month by MK Sharren Haskel of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, but at the time its chances of advancing — normally a lengthy process — appeared slim in light of the political deadlock and the fact that the country is currently led by an interim government.” 

Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement, promising to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

What's Happening at CMEP
public statement

Public Statement:

CMEP Applauds E.U.’s Labeling of Settlement Products, Opposes U.S.’ Recognition of Settlements: CMEP recognizes that it is imperative to acknowledge that the settlement enterprise stands in stark opposition to the goals of peace and justice. Anything other than fierce opposition to the support and expansion of settlements only solidifies and prolongs the conflict.


Discounted Registration for CMEP’s Annual Advocacy Summit Open Now!

Join us in the Washington, D.C. area June 21-23, 2020. This year’s theme is Equal in God’s Eyes: Human Rights & Dignity for All in Israel/Palestine.


New Women behind the Wall Blog Live! 

This week: Episode 8: Generational Separation. We love to hear your thoughts. Please read and then comment with your prayers. 



Dec. 2 is Cyber Monday. Please don't forget to choose CMEP as your charity partner on Amazon Smile!

unrwa renewal

Defying Trump, UN renews mandate of Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA until 2023
Times of Isreal

“The United Nations voted Friday (Nov. 15) to extend the mandate of its controversial agency for Palestinian refugees in a move opposed by Israel and the United States. In a General Assembly vote, the UN’s Fourth Committee approved extending UNRWA’s mandate until 2023. The vote was 170-2, with only Israel and the US voting against. UNRWA was set up in the years after more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled their lands during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel. It has repeatedly had its mandate extended since then.” 

Image: A Palestinian woman attends a demonstration outside the outside UNRWA's Headquarters in Gaza City, August 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

gantz failed coalition

Hours before deadline, Gantz tells president he has failed to form a coalition

“Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz announced Wednesday (Nov. 20) he was unable to establish a governing coalition, hours before his midnight deadline for negotiations. Returning the mandate to form a coalition to President Reuven Rivlin, Gantz has effectively plunged Israel's political sphere into even greater uncertainty, raising the stakes for a third election cycle within a year. After two failed rounds of unity talks, the first led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately after the September 17 election and the second by Gantz, any Knesset member with the backing of at least 61 lawmakers would be tasked with forming a coalition. Lawmakers have 21 days to nominate a candidate.”

Image: Lieberman speaking to his Yisrael Beiteinu faction in the Knesset, November 20, 2019. (Haaretz)


Presidential candidates open to leveraging American support for Israel
Lobe Log

“American politicians vying for the Oval Office in 2020 recently engaged in a watershed shift in the conversation about the American-Israeli relationship. Several Democratic presidential candidates voiced their support for policies of accountability toward Israel that could leverage the latter’s US support to change its behavior toward the Palestinians.”

Image: Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg. (Gary Riggs via WikiMedia Commons)


CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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