The Palestinian Authority (PA) was outraged on Monday following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that the US no longer considers Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be contrary to international law.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement quoted by the PA’s Wafa news agency that Pompeo’s declaration “is null and void, condemned and totally contradicts with international law, resolutions of the international legitimacy that reject settlements, and Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 2334.”
Abu Rudeineh “stressed that the US administration is not qualified or authorized to cancel the resolutions of the international legitimacy, and does not have the right to give any legitimacy to the Israeli settlements.”
While rejecting these statements and previous resolutions on Jerusalem, the PA called on world governments “to reject them and condemn them because they are illegal and threaten international peace and security.”
Abu Rudeineh reiterated that the US administration has totally lost all credibility and no longer has any role in the peace process, adding, "We hold the American administration fully responsible for any repercussions of this dangerous step."
The PA’s “foreign minister”, Riad Malki, condemned Pompeo’s remarks as well and said, “The State of Palestine condemns the strongest terms the US administration’s lawless position on Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied territory of the State of Palestine, as announced by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
“This position violates international law, decades-long international consensus over the issue and determinations of the International Court of Justice, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions and United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions,” he added.
“The current US Administration has adopted an anti-Palestinian agenda and endeavored to empower and legitimize the Israeli colonial settler agenda. This ideologically driven and irresponsible policy, including this most recent announcement by Secretary Pompeo, prove beyond any doubt that the current US administration has aligned itself with Israel's illegal colonial enterprise and thus fails to meet the most basic requirements of to play any role in any future solution,” continued Malki.
He added that the “State of Palestine will not stop pursuing justice and redress for the Palestinian people” and called on the international community “to respond firmly to such destructive behavior by supporting Palestine’s efforts at the international level to protect the two-state solution by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, insisting on full respect for international law and adherence to the United Nations Charter, ensuring that any political track must aim to end the Israeli occupation, and defending the internationally agreed-on framework for peace. Only positive actions that reestablish credibility to international law and respect for the need for justice as a prerequisite of peace can achieve that.”
Pompeo stated earlier that the American government does not consider Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be in violation of international law.
"The Trump Administration is reversing the Obama Administration's towards Israeli settlements. US public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades," he said at a press conference.
"In 1978, the Carter Administration categorically concluded that Israel's establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn't believe that the settlements were inherently illegal. Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal positions didn't advance peace," Pompeo explained.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Pompeo's announcement, saying, "Today, the United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong when the Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are inherently illegal under international law.”
"This policy reflects an historical truth - that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judea and Samaria. In fact, we are called Jews because we are the people of Judea.”