Belgium: Israeli Settlement Construction Questions its Commitment to Peace

BRUSSELS, May 14, 2015 (WAFA) – Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders stated Thursday that Israeli settlement construction seriously questions Israel’s commitment to concluding a peace agreement.

Reynders ‘strongly deplored’ in a press release Israel’s decision to reinforce the expansion of the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo.

Having deplored Israeli settlement construction, Reynders adopts a similar position to the foreign ministers of the countries of the European Union who had already expressed their opposition to these plans, calling on Israel to rescind its decision.

“As noted by the spokesperson of High Representative Federica Mogherini, Israel’s determination to pursue its settlement policy in the occupied territories not only threatens the viability of the two-state solution but also seriously questions its commitment to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians,” said the Belgian top diplomat.

Reynders recalled that settlements are illegal under international law and welcomed the fact that the EU and its Member States continue to ensure that European legislation and bilateral agreements are implemented.

The settlements are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which establishes that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.