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Viewpoint - October 3, 2013

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All Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are illegal, US says

All Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, US Secretary of State John Kerry says.

Kerry made the remarks during a joint news conference with his Brazilian counterpart Antonio Patriota in the Brazilian capital Brasilia, where he arrived on Tuesday after visiting neighboring Colombia.

"Let me make it clear. The policy of the United States with respect to all settlements is that they are illegitimate," he said.

A day earlier in Colombia, Kerry also said that the US government views the settlements as illegal, but called on the Palestinian Authority "not to react adversely" to Israel's approval of hundreds of new settlement homes.

"I think that what this underscores, actually, is the importance of getting to the table and getting to the table quickly and resolving the questions with respect to settlements, which are best resolved by solving the problems of security and borders," Kerry said in Bogota, the capital and largest city of Colombia.

"Once you have security and borders solved, you have resolved the question of settlements," he added.

On Sunday, Israel announced plans to construct nearly 1,200 new illegal settlement units on the occupied Palestinian land.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that 1,187 apartments had been given final approval.

He added that 793 apartments would be built in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) while 394 others are to be constructed in several neighborhoods of the occupied West Bank, including Maaleh Adumim, Efrat and Ariel.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Tel Aviv regime approved the construction of another 942 settlement units in the occupied East al-Quds.

Al-Quds municipal councilor Yosef Pepe Alalu said that the municipality approved the plan for the construction of the settlement units in Gilo settlement.

Gilo is one of five major settlements in East al-Quds that were established by Israel following the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel occupied East al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank during the war and refuses to withdraw.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

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Original Article: All Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are illegal, US says

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