Palestinian premier vows to 'punish' anyone dealing with Israeli settlements products

Palestinian premier vows to 'punish' anyone dealing with Israeli settlements products
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said those dealing with Israeli settlement products will be 'heavily punished'.
2 min read
21 November, 2019
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned on Wednesday that Palestinians who deal with Israeli settlement products will be "punished heavily".

Earlier this week, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an unprecedented change in policy, declaring that "the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law".

During an emergency cabinet meeting in reaction to the shock policy change, Shtayyeh on Wednesday said the government's stance towards those who deal with settlement products will be toughened, according to Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.

He added his government will call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to immediately start an investigation of the settlements as previously requested by Palestine.

Shtayyeh called on the European Union and Russia to withdraw the dual citizenship of settlers due to their illegal presence in the settlements.

Both Russia and the EU have condemned the US declaration that Israeli settlements are legal. 

Infographic: Click to enlarge

Shtayyeh deplored the US position as yet another aggressive move added to similar decisions such as recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cutting financial aid to the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA.

"It's a blow to the foundations of international law and the United Nations and cancels forever any role for this (US) administration in any current or future political track," said the prime minister.

Settlements are considered a war crime under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention on the laws of war explicitly forbids moving civilians into occupied territories.

All Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank are classed as illegal under international law, with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stating that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies".

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in a bid to illegally annex the Palestinian territory.

Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.

Israel often forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permits.

Applications for building permits often take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

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