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US support for Israeli annexation plan a war crime — House committee

Committee slams US backing of Israel settlement plans

By JT - Jan 11,2020 - Last updated at Jan 11,2020

AMMAN — The US administration's support of Israel's "right" to annex the occupied territories is a war crime according to international law, the Lower House's Palestine Committee said on Saturday. 

MP Yahya Saud, head of the panel, denounced US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's statements regarding annexing parts of the West Bank, describing the remarks as a blatant violation of international legitimacy, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

This stance is "negligent" of the two-state solution, which the international community unanimously agrees upon, and represents "full bias" to the extremist Israeli right, which denies the presence of the Palestinian people and its legitimate national rights based on international law, Saud added.

The lawmaker warned the international community of the risks posed by such remarks to regional security and stability, describing them as a "systematic undermining of the peace process and efforts of peace supporters to enhance the international security and stability". 

He also called on the international community to bear its responsibility to pressure the occupation state to respect international law and put a stop to its recurrent attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites, including Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, according to Petra.

Last week, Friedman, a strong supporter of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, said that the new US policy clearly states that "Israelis and Jews have the right to live in Judaea and Samaria [the West Bank]".

On November 18, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States no longer considers Israeli settlements to be “inconsistent with international law”.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the laws of war, however, explicitly forbids moving civilians into occupied territories.

The about-turn brought stiff international and Palestinian criticism.

The UN and the EU said that the decision would not change the reality of the settlements' illegality and illegitimacy, while the Arab League condemned Washington’s unilateral move.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank alongside more than 3 million Palestinians.

Shortly after taking up his post in November, Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett announced a plan to double the number of settlers in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

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