(November 21, 2019 / JNS) At the U.N. Security Council’s monthly Mideast meeting on Wednesday, the council’s 14 other members strongly condemned the U.S. administration’s announcement on Monday that it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be in violation of international law.
Before the meeting began, U.S. allies Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland reiterated in a joint statement that “all settlement activity is illegal under international law.”
They called on Israel “to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power,” saying such activity “erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”
The statement echoed that made by E.U. Foreign Affairs representative Federica Mogherini immediately after the U.S. announcement, in which she said that “the European Union’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: All settlement activity is illegal under international law, and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon defended the U.S. policy shift, saying it “rights a historical wrong,” and that it was the E.U.’s approach that was obstructing peace.
“The automatic support of some European countries for the Palestinians,” said Danon, “has resulted in a propaganda campaign that starts in New York and ends in Ramallah.”
If the European Union truly wants to help, said Danon, “you must change your approach because your criticism is preventing direct negotiations.”
After the council session, Deputy German Ambassador Jurgen Shultz read a joint statement on behalf of the council’s 10 non-member countries saying, “Israeli settlement activities are illegal, erode the viability of the two-state solution and undermine the prospect for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
The statement also expressed concern that Israel would annex parts of Judea and Samaria.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn added on Wednesday that the European Union should respond to the U.S. announcement by formally recognizing a Palestinian state.
“Recognizing Palestine as a state would be neither a favor nor a carte blanche, but rather a mere recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to its own state,” Asselborn told Reuters. “It would not be meant against Israel.”
The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2014 supporting Palestinian statehood in principle.
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