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Egypt’s Al-Azhar condemns US decision on Israeli settlements

November 21, 2019 at 4:25 am

The Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb on 4 February 2019 [VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images]

The United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent statements on the Israeli illegal settlements is a “blatant assault on the Palestinian state’s rights,” Egypt’s Al-Azhar said yesterday.

Al-Azhar added that the US decision was “completely inconsistent with the provisions of international laws and the United Nations Charter that acknowledges the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The highest Islamic religious institution in Egypt warned of what it described as “the serious repercussions of those [US’] decisions,” pointing out that it was giving “a green light for the Zionist entity to build more settlements and to commit further violations and crimes against the occupied Palestinian state.”

The Islamic body called on the international community “to respect Arab and Islamic countries, human rights institutions to the rightful owners, and international legitimacy resolutions which have repeatedly stressed on the illegality of the Israeli settlements.”

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On Monday, Pompeo said that Washington was backing Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank, saying that were “not inconsistent with international law.”

The announcement – which was condemned by Palestinians, Arab governments and the European Union (EU) – marked the third primary instance in which the US administration has sided with Israel and against international law even before unveiling its long-delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

In 2017, the US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and, while in 2018, Washington formally opened an embassy in the city. And in March, Trump recognised Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights in a boost for Netanyahu that prompted a sharp response from Syria, whose land it is under international law.