PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
21 October 2011
Dr. Saeb Erekat: Looting cannot be legalized, all Israeli settlements are Illegal
The Palestine Liberation Organization reaffirmed this Friday that the only standard applicable to Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is international law, including international humanitarian law.
In a press statement, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said, “All Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal according to international humanitarian law. There are no exceptions to this well-established legal principle.”
Dr. Erekat responded to attempts by the Israeli government to draw false distinctions between different kinds of illegal settlement construction, whereby Israel alleges that there is so-called private and public construction. “Looting is not made legal under any circumstance. International humanitarian law and relevant UN resolutions draw no distinction between different forms of settlement construction. These actions constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute,” said Dr. Erekat.
He added, “Attempting to draw such false distinctions exposes the true intentions of the Israeli government. Simply put, its goal is to continue expanding these illegal settlements, which the international community unanimously considers illegal and an obstacle to peace.”
“We call on all states to reaffirm their rejection of all Israeli settlements as an obstruction to peace that negates the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict and that, as President Abbas has stated, undermines the very existence of the Palestinian National Authority,” said Erekat.
He concluded, “Might does not make right. We will not compromise our positions based on the power politics of the day. International law has been, and will continue to be, the basis for our positions on this and all other issues.”