RAMALLAH, Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (WAFA) – In a move that many consider to be challenging to the peace process and negotiations between Palestinian and Israel as well as prejudging the outcome of any negotiations, the US administration, once considered a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, decided it will no longer treat the Israeli settlements as illegal.
Last Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Jewish settlements in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank are not inconsistent with international law, despite the fact that they totally contradict with United Nations resolutions on settlements, specifically Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016.
Since the announcement, many officials from Palestine, Middle East and the world expressed their complete condemnation and rejection of it, saying the decision is a “threat to international system,” while some thought it undermines achieving a last and just peace in the region.
Once the announcement was made public, the Palestinian presidency called on world governments to reject it and condemn it because it is illegal and threaten international peace and security.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the US statement is violating international law.
Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the statement is null and void, stressing that the US administration is not qualified or authorized to cancel the resolutions of the international legitimacy, and does not have the right to give any legitimacy to the Israeli settlements.
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), denounced the statements, stressing that this announcement threatens the international system.
Foreign Minister Riyad Malki condemned today the US recognition of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories describing it as "lawless."
Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the US administration is a threat to international peace and security.
The European Union (EU) reaffirmed its position on Israeli settlement policy, stressing that it "is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334."
EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini called on Israel in a statement commenting on Israeli settlement policy in light of the US recognizing them as not in violation of international law to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.
The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said that the announcement is another step taken by the Trump Administration to thwart and bury the idea of a peace process, and further solidifying Israel as an apartheid state.
Jordan‘s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of the dangers of the change in the US position on the settlements, noting that it’s a ‘move that kills the two-state solution and undermines chances of achieving comprehensive peace.’
Reacting to the announcement, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a tweet that fait accompli style declarations shall have no validity.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the settlements issue is one of the major issues in negotiations between Palestine and Israel regarding the final status, responding to a question about the US recent announcement.
German Foreign Ministry released statement on Israeli settlements reacting to the US statement, that said that the German government reaffirms its position on Israeli settlement policy in the Occupied Territories and that from the German government‘s point of view, settlement building is contrary to international law, undermines the possibility of achieving the peace process and makes a negotiated two-state solution difficult to achieve.
Bahraini and Russian Foreign Ministries both declared their rejection of the announcement, calling the settlements “illegal.”
The Pakistani Ulema Council condemned the announcement, saying it crossed red lines.
Additionally, international law experts agree that the US administration does not have the legal capacity to legalize settlements, and that the recent announcement by its secretary of state comes in response to the European Court of Justice‘s decision to label settlement goods and the international consensus to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
International rights groups such as The Geneva-based Euromed Monitor, Amnesty International and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), denounced in separate statements respectively.
Moreover, the Palestinian government called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level as soon as possible to discuss the announcement.