Trump Says Israeli Settlements Are Legal. Yawn.

Shadi Hatem/APA Images via ZUMA

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The Trump administration announced on Monday that it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Symbolically this is a big deal, I suppose, but in real-world terms it’s meaningless. The peace process has been dead for the past 20 years, and over that time Israel has made it brutally clear that it eventually intends to annex its West Bank settlements by main force. There is nothing that will change its mind.

Rightly or wrongly, then, Trump’s announcement doesn’t matter—aside from its effect on domestic US politics, of course. In that realm, this is mostly a shoutout to Trump’s evangelical Christian fans.

So count me as relatively untroubled by all this. After 20 years I’m willing to accept reality whether I like it or not. Practically speaking, the settlements are Israeli territory regardless of whether they are “illegal” under international law. It’s probably time to stop pretending otherwise.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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