US support for Israel’s West Bank settlements draws criticisms

Above, the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2019

US support for Israel’s West Bank settlements draws criticisms

  • The UN Human Rights Office reaffirms position Jewish settlements in West Bank ‘in breach of international law’
  • Turkey also said that the US declaration has no validity in international law

DUBAI: US comments effectively abandoning its 40-year old stance that Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were inconsistent with international law drew widespread condemnation on Tuesday.

Saudi Cabinet says Israeli raids on Gaza violate international law and humanitarian principles.

The UN Human Rights Office in particular reaffirmed its long-standing position that Jewish settlements in West Bank “were in breach of international law.”

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit likewise condemned the statements of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who earlier said that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

Aboul Gheit said he considered Pompeo’s statement a negative escalation and warned that the unfortunate change in the US position will push Israeli settlers to practice more violence and brutality against the Palestinian population, state news agency SPA report.

Similarly, Dr. Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, the President of the Arab Parliament, refuted the US official’s announcement, and said the pronouncements were a flagrant violation of international law, UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution No. 2334, which specified the illegality of Israel’s establishment of settlements in the occupied territories since 1967.

Turkey also said that the US declaration that it will no longer regard Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal has no validity in international law.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter that such declarations “shall have no validity with respect to international law.”

“No country is above international law,” he said.

Turkey, a strong advocate of the Palestinian cause, also criticized US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

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Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

Updated 14 min 4 sec ago

Lebanon information minister quits in first government resignation over blast

  • Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel-Samad said she apologizes to the Lebanese public for failing them

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s information minister Manal Abdel-Samad on Sunday quit in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast killed more than 150 people and destroyed swathes of Beirut.
“After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government,” she said in a statement carried by local media, apologizing to the Lebanese public for failing them.