Explained:What change in US policy on Israeli settlements in West Bank means

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News:Recently,the United States has declared that it does not consider Israeli settlements on the West Bank a violation of international law.

Facts:

About West Bank:

  • West Bank is a landlocked territory in West Asia.It also contains a significant section of the western dead sea.
  • It was captured by Jordan after the Arab-Israeli War(1948) but Israel snatched it back during the Six-Day War of 1967 and has occupied it ever since.
  • At present,there are around 130 formal Israeli settlements along with 26 lakh Palestinians at West Bank.

What is the stand on West Bank globally?

  • The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • Under the Fourth Geneva Convention(1949), the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
  • Under the Oslo Accords of the 1990s,both Israel and the Palestinians agreed that the status of settlements would be decided by negotiations. But the negotiations process has been all but dead for several years now.

What has been the US stand earlier?

  • The US had considered the West Bank settlements as illegitimate since 1978.
  • However in 2016,the US did not veto a resolution that called for an end to Israeli settlements.
  • Recently,the US had also moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and backed Israel’s assertion that the city is its capital.