Palestinians rail against US policy reversal on Israeli settlements Nov 20, 2019 0 98 12345 AFPJerusalemIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday hailed a US announcement that it no longer considers settlements in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem illegal, but the Palestinians pledged new measures to oppose it.Netanyahu visited the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, where he told settler leaders he was “very moved” by the announcement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.“Here we are on a historic day with another tremendous achievement for the State of Israel, which we have greatly worked for,” he told them, according to a statement released by his spokesman.“The Trump administration has corrected a historic injustice and lined up with truth and justice.” Pompeo said that after legal consultation Washington had concluded the establishment of settlements was “not, per se, inconsistent with international law”.He said that the United States was not necessarily considering the settlements legal either, but instead would defer to the judgement of Israeli courts. The majority of settlers live in settlements the courts have judged legal.The decision is the latest in a series of pro-Israeli moves by Donald Trump’s administration, including recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967. It puts the United States at odds with virtually the whole of the rest of the international community and breaks with UN Security Council resolutions declaring the settlements to be illegal as they are built on occupied land.More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, alongside more than three million Palestinians.The Arab League criticised Pompeo’s announcement, calling it an “extremely adverse development.” The only two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel -- Egypt and Jordan -- also sharply criticised the US policy shift, with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warning of its “dangerous consequences”.The European Union reiterated that it considers all settlement activity “illegal under international law.” The direct impact on the ground may be limited but analysts say it will further embolden the settlement movement and may fend off potential legal moves against Israel.The Palestinian Authority -- which considers the US biased and has rejected the Trump administration as a mediator if peace talks are ever revived -- denounced the latest decision.Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians would take a series of measures to oppose it.“We began deliberations in the UN to present a draft resolution in the Security Council,” he said on Tuesday.“We expect a (US) veto but we will do it. Let the United States veto international law.“We are going to the (United Nations) General Assembly and we will ask... the International Criminal Court to open an official judicial investigation with Israeli officials concerning settlements.” RELATED ARTICLES Besieged by protesters, Lebanon parliament postpones session Nov 20, 2019 0 110 Kuwaiti emir names new premier amid corruption feud Nov 20, 2019 0 611 Iraqi protesters rally despite fresh government promises of reform Nov 20, 2019 0 81 Three killed as Iran unrest shows no signs of subsiding AFP Tehran Three security personnel have been killed by “rioters” in Iran, the latest deaths in protests that showed no sign of subsiding on Tuesday, despite a wave of arrests and an internet shutdown. A shock decision to .. Iran to unblock internet once ‘abuse’ stops: Govt Tehran: The Iranian government said on Tuesday it will unblock the internet only when authorities are sure it will not be abused during violent demonstrations against a petrol price hike. The Islamic republic has been .. Israel’s air defence intercepts rocket fire from Syria, reportedly hits back Jerusalem: Israel’s air defences intercepted four rockets fired from neighbouring Syria on Tuesday, the army said, prompting reported retaliatory missile strikes against the source of the fire. The Syrian .. UN dismisses US policy change, says Israeli settlements illegal Geneva: A US policy change has no impact on the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem, the United Nations said on Tuesday. UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said that “a .. US opinion on Israeli settlements not valid, says Turkish FM Istanbul: Turkey said on Tuesday the United States declaration that it will no longer regard Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal has no validity in international law. Turkish Foreign ..