In just a few words, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upended decades of U.S. policy yesterday by declaring Israeli settlements in the occupied territory as "not ... inconsistent with international law." The announcement, which drew fierce criticism from Palestinians, activists and politicians worldwide, was seen as a "political gift" to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's been pushing to annex the West Bank. The U.N. says those settlements violate the Geneva Convention.
Why does it matter? The communities have long been a major roadblock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — which now seem more precarious than ever.