09:04 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Part of the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem. Israel has approved 560 new homes for the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, a spokesman for the settlement said on July 4, 2016 in a move likely to raise tensions following a series of Palestinian attacks (File)

    Moscow Sees US Comments on Israeli Settlements as Attempt to Undermine Conflict Resolution Efforts

    © AFP 2019 / Ahmad Gharabli
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    On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington no longer regarded Israeli settlements in the West Bank as violating international law, reversing the Obama administration’s position and taking no legal position on the question or that of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank itself.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday that the recent statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the Israeli settlement aimed at undermining the legal framework of the conflict resolution.

    "We see this decision of Washington as another step aimed at undermining the international legal base of the Middle Eastern settlement, which will promote aggravation of the already tense situation in the Palestinian-Israeli relations," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Russia remains committed to the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334 (2016), under which the presence of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal and also is an obstacle on the way to peace, the ministry stressed.

    "We are calling insistently an all the parties involved to abstain from steps that may trigger new dangerous regional escalation and that prevent creating conditions for resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations," the Russian Foreign Ministry specified.

    The day before, Pompeo announced that the US would repudiate its previous legal opinion on the status of the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The US will no longer adopt a position on the legality of those settlements, breaking with the Obama administration’s decision that they did violate international law.

    Since 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State has regarded Israeli civilian settlements in the occupied territories as explicitly contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he reversed that decision; Pompeo indicated Monday the US was returning to the Reagan-era position.

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