Arab foreign ministers attend an emergency meeting at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on November 25, 2019. Credit: AFP
Arab League foreign ministers have expressed their strong condemnation of the Trump administration's announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories inconsistent with international law.
In an emergency meeting convened in Cairo on Monday, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed-Aboul Gheit dubbed the announcement “unfairly biased and unacceptable.”
Aboul Gheit said the U.S. has forfeited its role as a neutral mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.
Arab foreign ministers warned that the move taken by the US administration is unilateral and biased, and one that stands as a flagrant violation of international law and UN resolutions. It also threatens peace and security in the MENA region.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration of President Donald Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were "inconsistent with international law".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US announcement "rights a historical wrong".
More than 600,000 Israelis currently live in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Some three million Palestinians live there.
Israel’s policy of settling its civilians in occupied Palestinian territory and displacing the local population contravenes fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.