US defends before the Security Council its “legitimacy” of Israeli settlements

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The United States defended on Monday a statement by the United States that it no longer considers Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank “contrary to international law.”

“The US position is that the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank does not in itself contravene international law,” said Cherie Norman, the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations.

She added, in a regular session on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue: “We believe that this complex political problem can be solved only through direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Peace negotiations between the two sides have been stalled since April 2014 because of Israel’s refusal to halt settlements and accept pre-1967 borders as the basis for a two-state solution.

“I would like to make it clear that the US government does not express any opinion here on the particular legal status of any settlement, nor do we address or judge the final status of the West Bank,” she said.

She claimed that “the real obstacles that prevent Palestinians and Israelis from sitting down to work towards peace is the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel.”

“Only last week, reports indicate that 450 rockets were fired at Israel by Islamic Jihad,” she said. “These attacks threaten the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Islamic Jihad fired rockets into Israel in response to an Israeli military operation in Gaza on November 12.

The operation began with the assassination of Baha Abu al-Atta, a senior military commander in the “Jihad”, and resulted in the death of 34 Palestinians, and wounded more than 100 wounded, according to the Ministry of Health.

“The United States remains committed to the cause of peace,” Norman said. “Monday’s announcement does not change that fact.

And increased by saying: “The United States has always stood by Israel, and we support them today, and we will support them in the future, and will not stand idly by when the international community criticizes Israel unfairly.”

Rejecting the US announcement, delegates from France, Germany, Poland and Belgium to the United Nations, in a joint statement on Wednesday, that “all” Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory “illegal and undermine the two-state solution.”

The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal, partly based on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents the occupying power from transferring Israelis to the occupied territories.

The European Court of Justice ruled a few days ago to oblige EU member states to label “producer of settlements”, not “made in Israel”, on goods produced in settlements, in order to distinguish them from the consumer.

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