In typical fashion, the Trump administration’s Israel policy is scrutinized as Iran’s ongoing annihilation of protesters in Iraq and Lebanon is ignored.On November 18, 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US will no longer consider Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law. With this decision, Pompeo reversed a 1978 legal opinion by the State Department declaring that settlements violate international law. In his remarks, Pompeo said that ruling has failed to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward,“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” he said. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”Pompeo clarified that this decision was not intended to consent to the building of future settlements, recognizing that the US government defers to the jurisdiction of Israeli courts. To date, Israeli courts consider 132 settlements as legal.Although this decision is historic, it is not surprising. US President Donald Trump has continuously demonstrated strong support for Israel throughout his presidency. Last year, the Trump administration cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 to finally recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. Earlier this year, the administration recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, supporting the Jewish state’s right to defend itself against terrorist attacks launched from Syria.Opponents to this decision will fixate on the conclusions of a four-page 1978 State Department memo written by legal adviser Herbert Hansell. The memo labels Israel as an “occupier” in the West Bank and concludes any movement of civilian population past the Green Line is illegal.According to international law, occupation is a form of armed conflict that arises when one country takes over the sovereign territory of another country. However, Jordan’s claims to the West Bank following its 1949 seizure were never internationally recognized, and Israel usurped this land in a defensive war.Using the same definition under international law, armed conflict or war is a necessary component in defining an “occupier.” In this case, Israel would need to be engaged in active war with the country it supposedly “occupied” or wrested territory from, Jordan. However, Jordan and Israel signed a joint peace treaty that settled relations between the two countries.Opponents to this decision also suggest that settlement construction is the key obstacle to peace between Israel and its neighboring Arab states. However, the results of the Gaza Strip situation prove otherwise. Israel’s withdrawal of all military personnel and settlers from Gaza in 2005 was succeeded by a Palestinian civil war, the rise of Hamas and countless terrorist attacks and human rights abuses at the hands of its own leadership. Clearly, settlements alone do not qualify as hindrance to peace.Moreover, the outsized outrage and attention this announcement has received is unfortunately typical. Israel has always been unfairly scrutinized by the international community. In fact, the United Nations has systematically targeted the only Jewish state and democracy in the Middle East since its founding in 1948. The UN Security Council has adopted 79 resolutions related to Israeli in the last nine years alone.If opponents of this announcement claim “peace in the Middle East” to be their driving force and purpose, why isn’t their attention directed toward Iran’s recent and ongoing annihilation of protesters in Iraq and Lebanon? In the last week alone, Iranian-backed proxies have reportedly killed over 100 protesters in the latest round of demonstrations. It seems Tehran may serve as a tougher obstacle to tranquility in the MENA region than the recognition of reality in Israel by the Trump administration.The writer is an MA candidate in counter-terrorism and homeland security at IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government in Israel. She is also associate producer and analyst at the Center for Security Policy, located in Washington, DC.