Israeli settlements 'not illegal' says Trump Middle East envoy

Israeli settlements 'not illegal' says Trump Middle East envoy
Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt slammed the UN for criticising illegal Israeli settlements during a council meet.
2 min read
Greenblatt is working with Kushner on the so-called 'deal of the century' [Getty]
US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy slammed the UN Security Council on Thursday for criticising illegal Israeli settlements.

Envoy Jason Greenblatt told a council meeting that the UN's criticism of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem was "rehashing tired talking points".

He also claimed that the upcoming "deal of the century" peace plan would provide a fresh approach from the UN's "biased" one.

The council met for an informal meeting organised by Indonesia, a strong supporter of Palestine, about the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The UN and the majority of the international community deem such actions illegal but Greenblatt acccused the
 UN of preferring to condemn Israel for "the comfort of 700 paper resolutions" rather than condemning "700 rockets" fired by Palestinian factions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi described settlement construction as "unacceptable", urging the council to take a firmer stance against Israel.

"Inaction is not an option", she said.

Greenblatt claimed that settlement expansion was neither an impediment to peace nor illegal under international law.

"Let's stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution," said Greenblatt. "This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one."

"It is time for a new approach," said Greenblatt, who is working with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that is expected to be unveiled next month.

Greenblatt urged council members to back the plan, which he said would be "realistic and implementable" with the "right package of compromises for both sides".

The so-called "deal of the century" has already been rejected by Palestinian political leaders and civilians alike for being heavily biased in favour of Israel.

"This is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender and there is no amount of money that can make it acceptable," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the council.