Germany, Russia oppose US stance on Israeli settlements


Germany and Russia on Tuesday opposed the US announcement that it no longer considered Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories illegal. German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in a statement that her government has not changed its position regarding the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The Federal Government views settlement-building activity as a violation of international law, which hampers prospects of a peace process and makes a negotiated two-state solution much more difficult, the statement said. Berlin pledged to continue its efforts, together with other EU partners, to find a mutually acceptable, negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would address the legitimate concerns of both sides.
The United States’ review of its stance on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and the announcement that Washington no longer views these activities as illegal will exacerbate tensions in Palestinian-Israeli ties. We consider this Washington’s decision as another step aimed at ruining an international legal basis of the Middle East settlement that will exacerbate tensions in Palestinian-Israeli relations, the ministry issued a statement.
We are urging all concerned parties to refrain from any steps that could provoke a new dangerous escalation in the region and impede the creation of conditions for resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, it emphasized. Russia’s principled stance was outlined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 stating that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State [Palestine-Israel] solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo informed on Monday that Washington no longer considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law. Israel hailed this decision while the Palestinian side said the US administration had no authority to terminate international resolutions concerning Israeli settlements.
In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2334 demanding Israel stop its settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel refused to implement this document.

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