Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the largest UK organisation campaigning for Palestinian human rights, has strongly condemned the announcement that the US Government no longer considers Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.
This decision marks a dramatic shift in policy which has sparked outrage from Palestinians as well as human rights advocates and politicians across the world.
The West Bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories under international law, and the transfer of population by an occupying state into an occupied territory is a major breach of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israel has already welcomed the announcement and embraced the US government’s approach of abandoning the rule of law. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that “arguments about who is right or wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace”, inferring that peace will instead be achieved via the imposition of force and a rejection of the notion that all are equal under the law.
The US statement comes in the context of the so-called “Deal of the Century” which Israel and the US have been trying to sell to the world. This deal has come under heavy criticism for essentially demanding that the Palestinian people give up the claim to a capital in Jerusalem, give up the right to return to the homes from which they and their families were expelled or forced to flee in 1948, and give up the right to self determination.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on all UK political parties to not only reject the US Government’s statement, but also to recognise the UK’s fundamental responsibility to act to implement international law and hold Israel to account for its ongoing violations of this framework. In particular, campaigners are calling for an immediate ban on the import of goods from settlements and an end to the UK’s arms trade with Israel.
Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Underpinning this announcement is a deeply racist narrative that says the Palestinians are not a people with collective rights, but rather individuals whose needs are better understood and determined by the US and Israel than by Palestinians themselves. With this move, the US is reinforcing Israel’s stated determination to further illegally colonise Palestine. It’s now more clear than ever that if Israel is not held to account and sanctioned by the international community, it will continue to implement the law of the jungle.”