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Benjamin Netanyahu hails US backing for Israeli settlements an achievement to fix historic wrongs

Benjamin Netanyahu hails US backing for Israeli settlements ‘a huge achievement’ that ‘has fixed a historic wrong’

  •  Israeli PM told supporters: ‘I think it is a great day for the state of Israel’
  • Trump administration said no longer considers the settlements to be illegal
  • Palestinians condemned the decision as one that undermines peace 

Israel’s prime minister travelled to the West Bank today to celebrate the US announcement that it does not consider Israeli settlements a violation of international law.

Benjamin Netanyahu called the Trump administration’s declaration, which stepped back from four decades of US policy and reversed the policies of President Barack Obama, a ‘huge achievement’ that ‘fixed a historic wrong’.

‘I think it is a great day for the state of Israel and an achievement that will remain for decades,’ he said.

Mr Netanyahu spoke at a gathering of ecstatic supporters and settler leaders in Alon Shvut, a settlement outside of Jerusalem. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, meets with heads of Israeli settlement authorities at the Alon Shvut settlement, in the Gush Etzion block, in the occupied the West Bank. His visit came the day after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced the US would no longer consider the settlements to be in violation of international law

A general view shows a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elkana on the West Bank. Although the US' new stance on the legality of these settlements is largely symbolic it has fuelled calls from settler supporters to increase construction in the West Bank

A general view shows a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elkana on the West Bank. Although the US’ new stance on the legality of these settlements is largely symbolic it has fuelled calls from settler supporters to increase construction in the West Bank

More than 400,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 settlers in east Jerusalem - the Palestinian's hoped-for capital

More than 400,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 settlers in east Jerusalem – the Palestinian’s hoped-for capital

Mike Pompeo announced on Monday the US would no longer consider civilian settlements in the occupied territories as a violation of international law.

Mike Pompeo announced on Monday the US would no longer consider civilian settlements in the occupied territories as a violation of international law.

Israeli right-wing leaders welcomed US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Monday that the current administration would no longer consider civilian settlements in the occupied territories as a violation of international law.   

Although the new stance is largely symbolic, it has fuelled calls from settler supporters for increased construction or even the annexation of parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinians, who claim the West Bank as part of a future state, condemned the decision.

They and other countries said the move undercuts any chances of a broader peace deal.

A general view of the mosque of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and the Israeli West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim in the background. Palestinians and the international community say the settlements are illegal and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

A general view of the mosque of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and the Israeli West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim in the background. Palestinians and the international community say the settlements are illegal and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israeli school children play at their school at the Alon Shvut settlement, in the Gush Etzion block, between Palestinian cities of Hebron and Bethlehem southwest of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. Israel says the fate of the settlements that house thousands of its citizens should be determined in negotiations

Israeli school children play at their school at the Alon Shvut settlement, in the Gush Etzion block, between Palestinian cities of Hebron and Bethlehem southwest of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. Israel says the fate of the settlements that house thousands of its citizens should be determined in negotiations

Over 400,000 settlers now live in the West Bank, in addition to more than 200,000 settlers in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian’s hoped-for capital.

The Palestinians and the international community say that settlements are illegal and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israel says the fate of the settlements should be determined in negotiations.

The head of the Arab League joined the large number of critics, condemning the Trump administration’s latest decision ‘in the strongest terms’.

The league’s secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said the decision would result in ‘more violence and cruelty’ against the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli settlers and ‘undermines any possibility’ of achieving peace.

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. There are calls by settlers to increase construction after the US announced it would no longer deem such settlements to be a violation of international law

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. There are calls by settlers to increase construction after the US announced it would no longer deem such settlements to be a violation of international law

The White House says it has developed a Mideast peace plan, but it has not yet unveiled it.

The Palestinians already have rejected the plan, accusing the US of unfair bias in favour of Israel.

The Trump administration has, in recent times, made a number of moves in favour of Israel, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, recognising Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and closing the Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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