Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are an unequivocal violation of international law

19 November 2019 - 11:00am
Press release

Photo: welshkaren /

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the US no longer views Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory as "inconsistent with international law".

Responding to the news, Ryvka Barnard, Senior Militarism and Security Campaigner at War on Want, said:

"Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are a clear and unequivocal violation of international law, whatever the Trump administration claims. This is an attempt by a far-right government to legitimise the war crimes committed by another far-right government.

"Settlement building entrenches Israel’s illegal military occupation of the West Bank. It’s a part of the dispossession of Palestinians, the theft of their land, and forcible transfer of the 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, a war crime under international law.

"Now is the time for the UK government to be on the right side of history. It must condemn this move in the strongest terms, reaffirm its opposition to Israeli settlements, and end its own complicity by suspending trade with Israel – including the deadly arms trade."

Press Contacts

TJ Chuah, Press & Communications Officer,

Notes to editors

  • This move is the latest phase of the US-brokered Deal of the Century, which seeks to strip millions of Palestinians of their rights and permanently displace them from their historic homeland. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, Israel has already been emboldened to increase its commitment to settlement expansion and the annexation of existing settlements. 
  • Last week, the EU’s court of justice ruled that settlement products sold in the EU must be labelled as such – in recognition of the fact that settlements “give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that state outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law”.
  • The establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. Israeli settlements are internationally recognised as illegal, including by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice.

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