Palestinian officials have slammed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to visit Israeli settlement in the West Bank, calling the planned trip “a challenge to the international consensus”.
“The visit will be a challenge to the positions of all previous US administrations that emphasized the illegality of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” Xinhua news agency quoted Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh as saying in a statement on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Israeli media earlier reported that Pompeo would make an exceptional visit to a winery at Psagot settlement in the West Bank and the Golan Heights during a visit to Israel next week.
“The visit is dangerous and violates international law and the United Nations resolutions,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.
Such a visit to a settlement built on lands belonging to Palestinian owners “represents the legitimization of settlements and a blow to international legitimacy”, Shtayyeh added.
Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in 1967, and has since built dozens of settlements on the occupied territories, all regarded by the Palestinians as illegal.
In 2019, Pompeo announced that Washington no longer considered Israeli settlements built on the Palestinian territories as inconsistent with international law.
The Palestinians want to establish an independent state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital by way of peace talks with the Jewish state.
The last round of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, sponsored by the US, broke down in 2014 because of their deep divisions on issues related to Israeli settlements and the Palestinian statehood.
The Palestinian Authority severed its diplomatic ties with the administration of US President Donald Trump after he declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.