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Argument: Israeli settlements violate international law

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Supporting quotations

President Carter, April 1980 interview: “Our position on the settlements is very clear. We do not think they are legal.


Secretary of State Cyrus Vance before House Ctee. on Foreign Affairs, March 21, 1980: "U.S. Policy toward the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is unequivocal and has long been a matter of public record. We consider it to be contrary to international law and an impediment to the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process…Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention is, in my judgment, and has been in judgment of each of the legal advisors of the State Department for many, many years, to be. . .that [settlements] are illegal and that [the Convention] applies to the territories.”[1]


"Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002: "International Law. The establishment of settlements on the West Bank violates international humanitarian law, which establishes the principles applying during war and occupation. International humanitarian law prohibits the occupying power to transfer citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49). The Hague Regulations prohibit the occupying power to undertake permanent changes in the occupied area, unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population."


William Scranton, US Ambassador to the United Nations, UN Security Council -- March 23, 1976: "Substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the locations of the borders of states by the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors."[2]


The Nixon Administration: Charles Yost, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, UN Security Council -- July 1, 1969: "The expropriation or confiscation of land, the construction of housing on such land, the demolition or confiscation of buildings, including those having historic or religious significance, and the application of Israeli law to occupied portions of the city are detrimental to our common interests in [Jerusalem]. The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the June war, like other areas occupied by Israel, is governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provisions of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in laws or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation."[3]


Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said on May 25, 2009: “We believe that the expansion of settlements [is] illegal, on the one hand – because they are not conducive to helping along the peace process,”

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