Israel launches fresh airstrikes on Hamas in Gaza


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced a major reversal of the US' longstanding policy on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, rejecting a 1978 State Department legal opinion that deemed the settlements "inconsistent with worldwide law".

"The Israel Defense Forces are investigating the strike, which took place a few hours before a cease-fire came into effect, and its consequences", said officials.

"The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration's opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank", Pompeo said. This is clear from global law and multiple United Nations resolutions.

The move is likely to be welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to anger the Palestinians, as well as other countries seeking to resolve the Middle East conflict.

Pompeo added: "The vision of peace this administration has, we've created space for this".

The Trump Administration policy is also correct in stating that those who have categorically denied any legal basis for the settlements not only deny truth, history and the reality on the ground, they also set back the cause of peace, which can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.

The enthusiasm from Pompeo over Monday's change in policy, opined Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi, is likely based in his theocratic Christianity.

"Another blow to worldwide law, justice & peace", Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, said on Twitter ahead of Pompeo's statement.

Council on American-Islamic Relations national executive director Nihad Awad, in a statement, concurred.

"The Jewish People have the legal & moral right to live in their ancient homeland", she said in a tweet.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, condemned Pompeo's announcement and said settlements are illegal under global law.

The settlements represent a continuation of abusive policies, said Al Jazeera's Sana Saeed.

Both sides have warned they are prepared to retaliate if they are attacked. This is (continued) land theft, this is (continued) displacement.

Israel's settlement activities have also drawn attention to its treatment of Palestinians.

So, this is why we BDS.

Since he entered office, Trump has repeatedly made moves welcomed by Israeli hardline nationalists that have been interpreted as detrimental to Palestinians and their hopes for a future state.

"According to the information available to the IDF at the time of the strike, no civilians were expected to be harmed as a result of the strike", the IDF said in a statement. "These are solid facts that the Trump administration can not alter or unravel", she said. "Mike Pompeo is a threat to humankind".