United States Secretary of State John Kerry met with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday in Bethlehem. He was reported to have stated, "the United States believes, as I always have believed, that the settlements are illegitimate."
The term settlements usually refers to Jewish communities in regions of the country formerly occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 1948 -1967. These include communities that were depopulated of Jews in the War of Independence and then reestablished following the Six Day War in such areas as Judea, Samaria, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. Many of Israel's critics interpret international law as stating that lands acquired in wartime cannot be repopulated by the country that acquired such lands.
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