PLO slams US policy shift on settlements



Palestine will seek the holding of an emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers to discuss a recent U.S. policy shift on the legality of the Israeli settlements, a senior Palestinian official said Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will no longer be viewed as ‘illegal’.
The U.S. announcement ‘is dangerous to international security and peace,’ Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Executive Committee, told a press conference in Ramallah. He said the U.S. position ‘will open the door for violence, extremism, chaos and bloodshed’. Erekat said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding contacts with a number of countries and international organizations to counter the U.S. announcement.
Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live on more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians want these territories along with the Gaza Strip for the establishment of a future Palestinian state. International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.
Brussels: The EU on Monday condemned Israel’s policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington no longer considers them to be illegal. ‘The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law,’ said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.—APP

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