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Ever since the US government recognised Israel in 1948, no one has ever doubted where Washington stood in terms of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs. But while the US has always been pro-Israel, it tried, at least in theory, to adhere to international law and the worldwide consensus while dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is true that the US has often vetoed many actionable resolutions on the question of Palestine, but its position has always been clear when it came to the issue of Jerusalem. The US, like the rest of the world, has repeatedly refused to acknowledge Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem and continued to consider East Jerusalem as an occupied territory, just like Gaza, Nablus or Ramallah.

International law stipulates clearly that the Israelis are not allowed to change the status of the areas under its military rule. The fourth Geneva Convention, which was created to regulate long-term occupations, clearly opposes an occupying power from changing the status of areas under its occupation.

When the White House is more pro-Israel than the Congress

In the past, the US Congress, which has often been called “Israeli occupied territory”, passed several laws in favour of Israel that infringe on the executive branch’sconstitutional authority over foreign policy. But consecutive presidents have consistently opposed these laws and claimed presidential waivers to postpone their implementation.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was signed into law in 1995, was one such law. It threatened to defund the Department of State if the US doesn’t move its embassy to Jerusalem, but at the same time allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months to avoid making such a drastic and implosive decision. Every president since then has regularly signed the waiver. President Trump also signed the waiver in June 2017 – a move that allowed his son-in-law Jared Kushner to work towards “bringing peace to the Middle East”.

But things have changed in the last six months. Read More …