Quakers condemn irresponsible US announcement on Israeli settlements

By agency reporter
November 22, 2019

Following the announcement this week from US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on  Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, Quakers in Britain have repeated their view that the settlements are a serious obstacle to peace.

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said: “Our Quaker commitment to peace and equality compels us to speak out about the US government’s announcement that ‘the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.’’

“Israeli settlements are in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a serious obstacle to peace,” he said. “We believe the announcement is an irresponsible move, which seriously undermines prospects for peace in the region.”

Mike Pompeo’s statement contradicts a 2016 UN resolution that Israeli settlements are a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law and have ‘no legal validity’. The statement also legitimises human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government in the course of its 52-year occupation of Palestine.

Over six million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, or in refugee camps. These people face multiple human rights violations: restrictions on movement; loss of land and water; demolitions; detention without trial and violence by settlers and the Israeli military. The building of Israeli settlements seriously undermines the chances of achieving a just peace in the region. The EU has reiterated its position that "all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace." Israeli settlements have expanded during the course of the current US presidency. This new statement is likely to boost further expansion.

Paul Parker said, “Quakers in Britain repeat our call to the US government to reconsider their destabilising actions, which undermine international laws and institutions. We also urge the British government to accept its historic and current responsibility towards peace in the Middle East and to take immediate steps to recognise the state of Palestine in the same way as it recognises the state of Israel.

“We stand alongside all those working for a just peace in the region”, he said.

* Read Quakers condemn US recognition of Jerusalem here

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain https://www.quaker.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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