The US no longer believe that Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river violate international law. This was stated on Monday at a press briefing Secretary of state Michael Pompeo, quoted by TASS.
“The administration of President Donald trump is reviewing the approach of the Obama administration on the Israeli settlements,” – said Pompeo, Recalling that the official statements of the United States regarding settlement activities in the West Bank for decades, was inconsistent. In 1979 administration of Jimmy Carter categorically concluded that the Israeli settlements are contrary to international law. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan disagreed with this conclusion and stated that he does not believe settlements were illegal.
“In December 2016, U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry changed careful bipartisan approach, publicly stressing the alleged illegality of settlements, – said Pompeo. – After careful consideration of all sides of the current administration has decided to agree with President Reagan. The construction of Israeli civilian settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river is not in violation of international law”.
In December 2016, the UN security Council adopted resolution 2334 with a demand to stop settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Israeli side at the same time declared that he would not comply with the provisions of this document.
Pompeo also said that the new decision of the U.S. on the settlements of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories does not prejudge the final status of the West Bank of the Jordan river. “This should agree through negotiations, Israelis and Palestinians,” – said the head of foreign policy Department of the USA.
Turning to the issue of Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river, Pompeo said that this step Washington should not be seen as a political signal to anyone. In addition, he said that the current US actions will only encourage settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The foreign Minister of Israel Yisrael Katz welcomed the statement Pompeo and thanked the administration of the trump “for consistent and persistent support of Israel.” “This important statement is the appropriate response to the decisions of the European court against Jewish settlements and attempts to boycott the state of Israel,” wrote Katz on Twitter.
“The United States took an important political course, which corrects a historical error, the administration trump clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river are essentially illegal under international law. Israel is deeply grateful to President Trump, Secretary of state Pompeo and the entire administration of the States for their firm stand in support of truth and justice, and calls on all responsible countries that hope to promote peace, to take a similar position,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said that Israel remains ready and willing to conduct peace talks with the Palestinians on all final status issues settlement to achieve lasting peace, but will continue to reject all of the arguments concerning the illegality of the settlements.
In turn, the official representative of the Palestinian President Nabil Abu rudeina said that the White house is not empowered to cancel the international resolutions concerning the settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river. According to him, the US administration has “lost all credibility” and no longer plays any role in the peace process in the middle East. The statement of Pompeo “is invalid, rejected, condemned and completely contrary to international law and resolutions of international legitimacy”.
The Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat strongly condemned the statement of US state Secretary Michael Pompeo of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and accused Washington in an attempt to replace international law with the law of the jungle. This was reported by the Palestinian news Agency Maan.
“This position in this matter, as well as positions in other fields in different regions of the world, the United States posed a direct challenge to international law, attempting to undermine its foundations and to replace them with the laws of the jungle, he said. Washington, thus, deprived itself of the role of responsible international player and mediator in resolving international crises”.
Erekat called on the international community to respond adequately to these “illegal statements” and to bring the administration to justice “for these flagrant and ongoing violations of international law.” He also called on the advisers of the American administration “to review the provisions of international law and international humanitarian law”, noting that settlement activity condemned by all provisions of international law.
The foreign Minister of Jordan, Ayman Hussein Abdullah al-safadi said on Twitter that the US administration’s decision could have dangerous consequences for the middle East settlement. According to the Minister, the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is “a flagrant violation of international law.” As the head of the foreign Ministry, Jordan will not abandon the condemnation of such Israeli actions that undermine the possibility of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the principle of two States.
The EU also continue to believe the settlements are illegal and called on Israel “to stop all settlement activity in accordance with its obligations as the occupying power.” This is stated in the statement of the head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini.
According to her, the EU will continue to support the resumption of efforts to reach a solution to the conflict based on the principle of two States, that is “the only viable and realistic way to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of both sides.”
The Russian foreign Ministry, in turn, said that Russia’s position on the issue of settlements remains unchanged. Russia consistently supports the need for a comprehensive political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the concept of two States for two peoples within the borders of 1967. The Russian foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that the only way to resolve differences between the parties could be direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the US state Department issued a warning for citizens visiting and planning to visit Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan river and the Gaza strip. “Individuals and groups opposed to the recent statements of Secretary of state, could be directed against U.S. government and private U.S. interests and U.S. citizens”, – stated in the message on the Department’s website.
According to authorities, the objectives of attacks can be social events, hotels, clubs and restaurants, popular among the citizens of the USA, religious places, schools, malls and markets, tourist facilities and transport.
In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Israel has urged citizens of their countries in Israel, to exercise caution and vigilance when visiting Jerusalem. “The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens residing in or planning soon a trip to Jerusalem, the West Bank of the Jordan river or the Gaza strip to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take the necessary steps for awareness about security measures in light of the prevailing situation”, – said on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
The Embassy statement also States that “the U.S. government prohibits U.S. government employees travel in the whole territory of the West Bank of the Jordan river, including Jericho and Bethlehem, and in Jerusalem’s Old city, its immediate surroundings and to his goal”.