US urged to ‘rescind’ 1978 opinion on illegality of Israeli settlements

The United States government is being urged to rescind a 1978 opinion on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), reported The Jerusalem Post.

According to the report, the Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) has “embarked on a renewed campaign this week to pressure the Trump administration on the matter”, claiming that “termination of this opinion is long overdue”.

Jeff Daube, the ZOA’s Israel Director, is seeking to “solicit support among US Congress members for the Trump administration to formally rescind a 1978 opinion by former State Department legal adviser Herbert J. Hansell, who worked for the Carter administration”, said The Jerusalem Post.

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Hansell authored the opinion in support of UN Security Council Resolution 465 against Israeli settlements in the oPt, a resolution which all Council members – including the US – supported.

The ZOA is apparently concerned that the opinion “would allow future US administrations to use it as a basis to support anti-Israeli resolutions at the UN”, and “that the document could be the basis of any potential war crimes suit in front of the International Criminal Court at The Hague”.

“It is important for the White House under the leadership of President Trump to take the simple step of rescinding this archaic legal opinion which is still being used both to accuse the Government of Israel of breaking the law and, by association, to smear the United States”, Daube said.