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Arab foreign ministers condemn US recognition of settlements as ‘unfairly biased’

Tuesday 26 Nov 2019
Arab foreign ministers condemn US recognition of settlements as ‘unfairly biased’
From left: Abul-Gheit, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki and Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Hakim attend a press conference following an emergency meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo (photo: AFP)
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Arab foreign ministers rejected on Monday, at the Cairo-based Arab League, a decision made by the United States that recognises Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.

A week after the US announced it would no longer regard Israeli settlements as illegal, Arab foreign ministers held a meeting in which they underlined that the decision violates international law, charters and peace agreements.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul-Gheit described the US decision as “unfairly biased and unacceptable”. Abul-Gheit added that he no longer considers the US as a neutral body on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, due to the decision.

Monday’s emergency meeting followed an announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 18 November, where he refuted legal opinion adopted by US President Jimmy Carter in 1978 that considers Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as inconsistent with international law.

Arab ministers said the latest Trump administration stance puts national and international security at risk.

The majority position among states hitherto now has been to consider Israeli settlements as illegal and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention adopted in 1949 — a foundation of international humanitarian law.

Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets in protest against the US shift in policy on the legal status of Israeli settlements.


*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 November, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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