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    ‘No Country is Above International Law’: Turkey Slams US Reversal on Israeli West Bank Settlements

    © AP Photo / Ariel Schalit
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    On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law, reversing a position the US has held since 1978.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has blasted Washington over its decision to reverse the US’s previous position on the illegal nature of Israeli settlements in West Bank.

    “No country is above international law. Fait accompli style declarations shall have no validity with respect to international law,” Cavusoglu wrote on his official Twitter account, referring to Secretary Pompeo’s statement.

    Historic US Reversal of Policy

    On Monday, Pompeo renounced the US’s previous position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which was that the settlements were “occupied territories,” and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territories it occupies.” The US State Department adopted this position in 1978. Along with the US, most other members of the United Nations similarly considered the settlements to be illegal.

    The territories in question, seized from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War, have been settled by over 600,000 Israelis, but are also home to some 2.7 million Palestinians, who are seeking to make the West Bank part of their future state.

    After Monday’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Trump administration for “righting a historical wrong,” and called on the rest of the world to “adopt a similar position.” Israeli settler leaders in the West Bank called on Tel Aviv to annex the territories outright, recalling a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Netanyahu ahead of the September parliamentary elections.
    Palestinian Bedouin homes are seen in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election eve vow to annex the Jordan Valley if he is re-elected has sparked an angry Arab rebuke and injected the Palestinians into a campaign that had almost entirely ignored them. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    © AP Photo / Ariel Schalit
    Palestinian Bedouin homes are seen in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election eve vow to annex the Jordan Valley if he is re-elected has sparked an angry Arab rebuke and injected the Palestinians into a campaign that had almost entirely ignored them. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Palestinians condemned Washington’s move on Monday, with a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying the US decision “contradicts totally with international law,” and adding that the US was “not qualified or authorised to cancel the resolutions of international law.”

    The Trump administration has had a tendency of running roughshod over the traditional proposed Israeli-Palestinian peace solutions, controversially moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognising the divided city as the capital of Israel in 2018, and declaring the Israeli-occupied portion of Syria’s Golan Heights Israeli territory in March 2019. Trump’s “unconventional” peace plan, the details of which are yet to be revealed, is widely expected to jettison the two-state solution – which has been at the core of all previous negotiations in recent decades, in favour of financial incentives for the Palestinians.

    Turkish-Israeli relations have been poor for years, ever since the 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish aid ship heading to Gaza, with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regularly engaging in a back and forth war of words, accusing one another of corrupt behaviour, of “occupying” stolen territories, and branding one another as a “dictator” or “Nazi.” Earlier this year, President Erdogan declared that “whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them.”

    Related:

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    At Least 10 Palestinians Wounded During Clashes in West Bank - Health Ministry
    Israeli Settler Leaders Call for Annexation of West Bank After Historic Change of Heart in US
    Arab League Slams Softer US Stance on Int’l Legality of Israeli Settlements in West Bank
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