Palestinians denounce Pompeo’s planned visit to Israeli settlement

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has decried a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The visit is an attempt to “legitimize the settlements” and creates “a dangerous precedent that violates international law,” Shtayyeh said during a meeting with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday.

Pompeo is scheduled to visit the settlement of Psagot next week, becoming the first US secretary of state to visit one of the settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The development comes one year after the administration of US President Donald Trump, who has lost the 2020 presidential election, announced that the US was no longer considering Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank “inconsistent” with international law.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Since Trump took office in December 2016, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

Hamas denounces US bullying

In a statement on Friday, the Hamas resistance movement also denounced Pompeo’s planned trip as “an American aggression on the rights of the Palestinian people.”

“The visit reflects the insistence of the US administration to implement the terms of the deal of the century during its last days in the White House,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said, referring to a Trump administration plan for the Middle East.

The US president himself has described the scheme as the “deal of the century.” The deal envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

According to the Palestinian Information Center, Qasem also denounced the actions of the Trump administration and Pompeo in violation of international law as “bullying.”

He said Pompeo’s planned visit and other actions by the Trump administration proved that the Arab regimes that recently normalized relations with Israel made misleading claims when they said the normalization deals would halt Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian territory.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan have normalized relations with the Tel Aviv regime. The Emirates claimed in August that its normalization pact would pause Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian territory.

The normalization deals were condemned by all Palestinian factions as betrayals of their cause.