Mahathir slams US support for Israel’s occupied territory settlements

Construction site of homes in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed concern over the reversal of the US’s stand on Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

In a media statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Mahathir said it was a blatant disregard of international laws and multiple United Nations resolutions.

US Secretary of State Mark Pompeo announced on Monday that the US would no longer view Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem as “inconsistent with international laws”.

This cancels a legal position held by the US State Department since 1978, when then-president Jimmy Carter’s administration determined that the settlements were violating international laws.

“We are no longer safe. If a country wants to enter our country and build their settlements, that is legal. We cannot do anything,” Mahathir said.

The prime minister fears the reversal of the US stand by President Donald Trump’s administration will embolden Israeli forces.

“You announce that their illegal settlements are not illegal at a time when they are conducting unjustified attacks on Gaza.

“Isn’t it like encouraging them to continue to murder the children and civilians and that they will not be punished? Instead, they will be rewarded with setting up settlements on the land of the people they had killed and murdered,” he said.