European Union Members Condemn US Policy Shift on Israeli Settlements

SOURCE: (i24 News)

European members of the UN Security Council made remarks directed at the US decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements illegal, without specifically naming the United States. 

“Our position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is clear and remains unchanged,” Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland said in a joint statement. 

They went on to say, “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.”

“We call on Israel to end all settlement activity in line with its obligations as an occupying power,” they added before a Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Israeli settlements were “not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” defying UN Security Council resolutions that declare the settlements to be illegal, as they are built on occupied Palestinian land. 

Israel welcomed the policy shift, but the rest of the international community did not. 

Courts in Israel have declared most major settlements legal, and the subject remains one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

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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