Saturday 14 December 2019
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UN dismisses US policy change, says Israeli settlements illegal

GENEVA: A US policy change has no impact on the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem, the UN said Tuesday, insisting that the settlements breach international law.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that after legal consultations, Washington had concluded that the establishment of settlements was not, per se, inconsistent with international law . UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said that a change in the policy position of one state does not modify existing international law, nor its interpretation by the International Court of Justice and the Security Council. The rights office will continue to follow the longstanding position of the United Nations that the Israeli settlements are in breach of international law, Colville told reporters. In his announcement, Pompeo said the United States did not necessarily consider the settlements legal, but instead would defer to the judgement of Israeli courts. The majority of settlers live in settlements that Israeli courts have judged legal.The decision puts the US at odds with virtually the whole of the rest of the international community and breaks with UN Security Council resolutions declaring the settlements to be illegal as they are built on occupied land. European Union stressed the decision would not change the reality that the settlements were illegal, The decision puts the United States at odds with virtually the whole of the rest of the international community and breaks with UN Security Council resolutions declaring settlements to be illegal as they are built in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli courts, however, have declared most majorsettlements legal. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the US decision did not modify existing international law, nor its interpretation by the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council .The EU reiterated it still considers all settlement activity illegal. Netanyahu visited the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank south of Jerusalem on Tuesday. Here we are on a historic day with another tremendous achievement for the State of Israel, he told settler leaders, according to a statement. The Trump administration has corrected an historic injustice and lined up with truth and justice. More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, alongside more than three million Palestinians.


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