Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends the Arab Foreign Ministers extraordinary meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis in Cairo, Egypt December 19, 2016/REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
CAIRO – 25 November 2019: Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Monday categorically rejected the US changed stance on the Israeli settlements considering it no more illegal, adding that it ends the US mediating role in the cause.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier in November that his country would no longer abide by 1978 State Department opinion, which call the Israeli settlements in West Bank against international law.
The step was condemned by the UK and Arab countries.
In his speech at the extraordinary session of the Arab League, Aboul Gheit said that the US recent announcement was a very negative development and a regrettable shift in the US position.
"The US administration had made great promises to achieve peace," Aboul Ghaiet said, adding that it has only worked to achieve the Israeli goals.
Aboul Gheit said that the US announcement concerning settlements represents an end to its role as a mediator in the Palestinian cause, after it had taken over such role for four decades.
This declaration does not change the status of the settlements as illegal entities, Aboul Gheit said, stressing that international law is formulated by the international community as a whole, not a single state.
He affirmed that the Israeli "occupation" would remain condemned by the whole world, despite any declaration, and that the Israeli settlements would remain legally void, and shameful for those who practice or acknowledge it.
Aboul Gheit said that the declaration would have a negative impact on any horizon to achieve peace in the future, stressing that the recognition of the settlements implies a recognition of the Israeli occupation as a whole.
"So what are Palestinians negotiating with the Israelis, if there is no occupied land, or settlers usurping the territory?"
Aboul Gheit affirmed that the consequences of the US declaration go beyond its role in the Middle East or in the peace process, as it has undermined a principle stipulated by international humanitarian law, which prohibits occupiers from transferring its population to the territories which they occupy.
"Ignoring this firm principle strikes the remaining moral legitimacy of the United States in this issue. It also undermines its credibility as a global power that is supposed to respect the law and work to implement it."
Pompeo on November 18th announced reversing the Barack "Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements," which declared them internationally illegal.
Responding to Pompeo's remarks, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the longstanding position of the UN regarding Israeli settlements in "Occupied Palestinian Territory" – that they are in breach of international law – is unchanged, according to the UN website.
He added that the UN remains “committed to a two-State solution based on the relevant UN resolutions”.