The US is flagrantly violating international law and sending a "clear message" that "might makes right" in declaring Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as legal, the Francophone Association for Human Rights (AFDH) said in a statement yesterday.
"By all international standards, Israel is an occupying power, and as such, falls under the jurisdiction of the Geneva Convention," the body said, adding: "This makes the US administration's stance a flagrant violation of international law, specifically the fourth Geneva Convention."
The Geneva Convention states that "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
"This newest US decision will only ensure the perpetuity of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to the detriment of both parties, especially since Benjamin Netanyahu has already made public his intention to annex the occupied territories," the rights group added.
It went to say that "Under President Trump, the US has abandoned any illusion of impartiality, indeed it has become an active actor for Israel's most extreme foreign policy impulses," including declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the embassy there, and recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Syrian occupied Golan Heights.
AFDH warned that the Trump administration's latest announcement can only lead to "Israel annexing the West Bank" which would be "a humanitarian catastrophe and a blot on the world's conscience".
On Monday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US is no longer considering Israeli Jewish settlement activity in the occupied West Bank as illegal.
The move had been internationally condemned with the Palestinian Authority saying it "poses a danger to international peace and security".