US reverses stance on Israeli settlements in the West Bank

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US supports Israel's right to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank on land previously occupied by the Palestinians, saying that it no longer considers the settlements inconsistent with international law.

Pompeo's statement rolls back a 1978 State Department opinion that formed the bedrock of US legal opinion on Israeli settlements, asserting that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are inconsistent with international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded Pompeo's announcement, saying the US had righted a 'historical wrong'. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, condemned Pompeo's announcement and said the settlements are illegal under international law. The US administration has lost its credibility to play any future role in the peace process, he said, adding that the new stance is unacceptable and should be condemned.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, Jewish settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. The European Union said it continues to believe that Israeli settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory is illegal under international law and erodes prospects for a lasting peace.

Source: VOV5