US RECOGNITION OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS TO IMPEDE PEACE PROCESS -- PALESTINIAN MINISTER

SHARIFAH ARFAH BINTI MESTADDIN

MOSCOW, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- The United States' recognition of Israeli settlements in West Bank will not make them any less illegal and will only complicate the peace process in the region, Palestinian Minister of National Economy Khaled al-Osaily told Sputnik in an interview.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer considered the construction of civilian settlements by Israel in the West Bank "inconsistent with international law," a reversal of the position held by the previous administration under President Barack Obama.

"This is one more aggression from the United States and Israel against the Palestinians, but this will do nothing, will not make it legal in this case. Now, it will create more problems. It creates more troubles in the region and it will make the peace process far away ... and more and more complicated. It will complicate the whole issue, the whole peace process and the whole peace not only in Palestine but in the region," the minister said.

Al-Osaily praised the Russian position concerning the issue and noted that the entire international community was against Israeli settlements in West Bank.

Israel has been in control of the Palestinian-majority West Bank since the Six-Day War in 1967. Since then, more than 120 Israeli civilian settlements were built in the disputed area.

Among the international documents that codify the unacceptability of such practice is Article 49 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian persons during times of war, which reads that "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which was adopted unanimously in 2016, is another such document. It states that Israel's building of settlements on Palestinian territories constitutes a violation of international law.

--BERNAMA