French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel MacronReuters

France on Tuesday said it “regretted” the United States’ announcement that it no longer considers Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be contrary to international law.

"We regret any decision likely to encourage continuing settlement," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "Israel's settlement policy in the occupied territories is illegal under international laws...and violates (UN) Security Council resolutions."

The ministry said that the US stance would further fuel tension in the region and undermine the two-state solution based on the pre-1967 war borders.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press conference on Monday that the US decision had been made based on the "reality on the ground."

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was outraged following Pompeo's statement.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said the 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.”

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.”