Persian Gulf Council calls for global action to stop Israel’s settlement construction plans

Foreign ministers of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council have strongly condemned Israel's plans to build new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The top diplomats have urged international action to stop such moves.

The foreign ministers voiced the condemnation during the body’s 156th ministerial meeting in the Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh on Sunday.

The ministers rejected the regime’s efforts to annex the settlements or impose its sovereignty over them, saying such efforts are against the resolutions adopted by international organizations, most notably the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

The resolution, which was adopted in December 2016, describes Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and al-Quds as “a flagrant violation under international law.”

The GCC foreign ministers also urged the international community to mount pressure on the occupying regime to reverse its settlement policies.

They reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over the occupied territories, calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.

In late February, the UN secretary-general called for an end to Israel’s settlement activities, stressing the illegality of all structures built in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“All settlement activity is illegal under international law. It must stop,” Antonio Guterres said while addressing the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

In late May, a European Union representative condemned the Israeli regime’s plans for the construction of nearly 600 new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank, calling on Tel Aviv to reconsider the decision.

Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, the EU’s ambassador to Palestine, made the remarks during a visit by a delegation of 20 European ambassadors and consuls to the historical town of Sebastia, north of Nablus.

He also denounced the occupying regime’s support for Israeli settlers to return to evacuated settlements in the northern West Bank.

Israel has built over 230 settlements since its 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, including East al-Quds. The settlements house more than 600,000 Israeli settlers.

Palestinians want the West Bank to serve as part of their future state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

In another part of their statement, the ministers condemned incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound by Israeli settlers and officials as an extension of the regime’s plans to Judaize the occupied city of al-Quds.

The compound, which is located in the Old City of al-Quds, is Islam’s third holiest site.

According to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government following the former’s occupation of East al-Quds, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.

Illegal Israeli settlers, however, regularly storm the compound amid strict protection provided for them by Israeli forces.

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