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Palestinians condemn Australian Foreign Minister for questioning illegality of Israeli settlements

March 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry summoned on Monday the Australian Representative to the Palestinian Authority, Thomas Wilson, to express its surprise and dismay at the statements made by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in which she questioned the illegality of Israeli settlements.

In her remarks Bishop criticised the pressure exerted by the European Union on Israel over its continued settlement activity, saying that “I would like to see which international law has declared [the settlements] illegal.”

The Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taysir Jaradat, informed Wilson that the change in the Australian attitude causes concern and is out of line with international positions on the issue, which uphold that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories violate international conventions, such as the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the principles of international law and international humanitarian law.

Jaradat called on the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify its position on the settlements and to reconsider making such statements because they are out of line with previous Australian policies, as well as against international consensus. Jurdat also reminded Australia’s representative that settlements are illegal and an obstacle to the political process, which aims to put an end to the Middle East conflict and reach a two-state solution.