Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Saudi Arabia rejects United States position on Israeli settlements

Saudi Arabia rejects United States position on Israeli settlements

"The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration's approach toward Israeli settlements", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, referencing the preceding administration's abstention from a December 2016 vote in the U.N. Security Council that determined Israeli settlement activity was a "flagrant violation of worldwide law".

Before the meeting began, five European allies of the United States - Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland - reiterated in a joint statement that "all settlement activity is illegal under global law".

At the United Nations, the US policy shift came under fire from the European Union and an array of Security Council members, including Russian Federation and China.

"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.

Palestinians condemned Washington's move on Monday, with a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying the United States decision "contradicts totally with worldwide law", and adding that the USA was "not qualified or authorised to cancel the resolutions of global law".

The territories in question, seized from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War, have been settled by over 600,000 Israelis, but are also home to some 2.7 million Palestinians, who are seeking to make the West Bank part of their future state.

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"The Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict", the Vatican said. Most of the global community views Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal - a view that Israel disputes.

After speeches by the 15 council members, Israel's Danon and Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the council held closed consultations.

"Israeli settlement activities are illegal, erode the viability of the two-state solution and undermine the prospect for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace" as affirmed by the 2016 council resolution, the statement said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the USA decision did "not modify existing global law, nor its interpretation by the worldwide Court of Justice and the UN Security Council".

Fourteen of the 15 countries seated at the security council rejected the United States measure.

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