UN Security Council members rebuke US on Israel settlements

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New York, Nov. 21 (BNA):  In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the 14 other U.N. Security Council members on Wednesday strongly opposed the U.S. announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be a violation of international law.


They warned that the new American policy undermines a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Associated Press (AP) reported.


The Council’s monthly Mideast meeting, just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement, was dominated by negative reaction to the new American policy from countries representing all regions of the world who said all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.


Only Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, who is not a council member, spoke in support of the U.S. action, saying it "rights a historical wrong." He also called the criticism an "obstacle to peace" that is "preventing direct negotiations" between Israelis and Palestinians.


"When the international community tries to force its solutions, it achieves the opposite effect," Danon said. "When Palestinians see that their battles are being fought for them, why would they agree to come to the negotiating table where they would have to compromise?"


According to the AP, before the meeting began, five European allies of the United States  Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland  reiterated in a joint statement that "all settlement activity is illegal under international law."


The Europeans called on Israel "to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power," saying such activity "erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace."


They also reiterated concern "about the calls for a possible annexation of areas in the West Bank."