Israeli policy document sparks outrage for claiming settlements are legal

Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry voiced sharp criticism of a new policy document, which they say reflects the personal political views of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. The document describes West Bank settlements as legitimate under the law.
Photo credit: Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry are outraged over the publication of a formal document explaining Israel's policies on the Palestinian conflict, in which West Bank settlements are described as legal.

The sources claim that the document, which is set to be distributed to university students across the United States and Europe, merely reflects the personal political views of Tzipi Hotovely, the Deputy Foreign Minister. "This is a political doctrine that was translated into diplomatic language," one source said.

The document, which was issued ahead of Hotovely's upcoming visit to US college campuses, also states that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is solely responsible for the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. It describes a series of incidents in which remarks made by Abbas appear to have influenced Palestinians to carry out terror attacks.

The section regarding settlements in the West Bank says the territory was never under any legal sovereignty and therefore settling there is legitimate.

International law experts who spoke to Channel 2 News slammed the document, saying it contradicts Israel's own conduct in the West Bank since it was captured from Jordan in 1967.

"Israel has been complying with the laws of occupation for the past 50 years by imposing military control over the territories," said Prof. Guy Harpaz of the Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University.



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