Jordan reiterates illegitimacy of Israeli settlements

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The US ruling is a green light for an escalation in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the annexation of Palestinian land.

What was the previous United States position? We believe settlements should be an issue for direct negotiations between the parties, not something determined by worldwide bodies.

Pompeo talked about the administration became returning to policy beneath Ronald Reagan, declaring that Reagan talked about in a 1981 interview that settlements were "no longer unlawful".

On Monday, however, Pompeo said: "The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with global law".

As of late Monday, no other nations appeared to have followed the United States by declaring they had ceased to view the settlements as inconsistent with worldwide law.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. said "The U.S. administration has lost its credibility to play any future role in the peace process". Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others can not be legally sustained, he noted.

Under the Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, both sides agreed that the status of Israeli settlements would be resolved by negotiation.

It is a reversal of the 1978 State Department legal opinion, known as the Hansell Memorandum, that such neighborhoods are "inconsistent with worldwide law".

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According to several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2016, Israeli settlements are illegal under worldwide law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

The Trump administration is bringing US policy in line with the positions held by successive Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to 1967, when Israel acquired the West Bank in the Six Day War.

But Americans do not make global law: that is up to bodies such as the United Nations and treaties such as the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bars an occupying power from transferring parts of its civilian population to occupied territory. "I applaud the US government for its important statement, once again demonstrating its firm stance with Israel and its commitment to the security and future of the entire Middle East", he said in a statement. Shorn of ways to effectively resist Trump's attacks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is left seeking support overseas.

The US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council in protest against its scrutiny of Israel's policies.

The only two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel - Egypt and Jordan - also sharply criticised the USA policy shift, with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warning of its "dangerous consequences".

Unsurprisingly, Netanyahu, who faces the likelihood within days of criminal indictments in three major corruption probes, and a battle to remain Israel's leader after two inconclusive elections, hailed the announcement.

Indonesia has voiced strong opposition to the United States' declaration Monday that it will no longer consider Israeli settlements in Palestine illegal.

The latest step puts the United States at stark odds with the European Union, whose top court ruled last week that goods from Israeli settlements must be labeled as such.

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More than 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The direct impact on the ground may be limited but analysts say it will further embolden the settlement movement and may fend off potential legal moves against Israel.

It was Trump who finally followed the law and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. Both Netanyahu and Pompeo's assertions, however, find solid grounding in global law.

Mr. Friedman and other officials have begun calling the West Bank Judea and Samaria, the biblical name Israelis use, and have also stopped referring to the West Bank as occupied.

He added that "Jewish communities there comprise less than 2 per cent of all of Judea-Samaria". The majority of settlers live in settlements the courts have judged legal.

Over 400,000 Israelis now live in about 120 communities built in parts of the West Bank of the Jordan River captured in a 1967 war.

The announcement was widely welcomed in Israel, which is between governments. A series of USA administrations have allowed settlement construction to continue but frequently criticized them publicly.

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