Israel plans new settler homes in flashpoint West Bank city

2019 a Jewish man visits the Israeli controlled part of the West Bank city of Hebron

According to several resolutions of the UN Security Council, the most recent in 2016, Israeli settlements are illegal under worldwide law, as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

Expressing deep concern over the disturbing situation in the occupied territories, especially in the West Bank and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip due to siege and economic sanctions, widespread Israeli military aggression and demolition of schools and homes, he called for an immediate and unconditional removal of the illegal siege of Gaza, reopening all border crossings in the region as well as putting an immediate end to mass punishment. It has been closed by the Israeli army since 1994, forcing many companies to close.

Israel launched airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Friday in response to a rocket fired from the coastal territory that landed in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council.

"Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with global law has not advanced the cause of peace", said Pompeo.

Among the worldwide documents that codify the unacceptability of such practice is Article 49 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian persons during times of war, which reads that "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies".

More than 20 parties supported the decree, which also called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the borders of June 4 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital and the resolution of the refugee issue in accordance with United Nations resolution 194. This announcement further clarifies the shift in US policy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict since Trump took office, which has seen a buttressing of Israeli belligerence vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

Israel seized the West Bank including Hebron, one of the world's oldest cities, in 1967 in a move never recognised by the worldwide community. In the same year, the US announced it would cut its contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) - the UN agency responsible for helping Palestinian refugees.

Ultimately, Pompeo's statement has more symbolic than practical significance.

In recent years, tensions in the West Bank have diminished, with 700,000 Israelis living in settlements across the territory that Israel conquered during the 1967 Middle East War. The unfortunate reality is that such settlement activity is built into the foundations of the state. Any Palestinian who had left his usual residence on or after 29 November, 1947, was considered an "absentee" regardless of whether or not they returned to it shortly afterwards. The Palestinians, however, will retain the rights to the properties on the ground floors.



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