Brussels, October 25 (RHC)-- Acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas has called on Western companies to respect the international law by pulling out of settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas made the remarks at a meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday. Abbas said: "I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the settlements to put an end to their activities," noting that "such activities are a violation of international law."
The Palestinian leader also censured "hindrances facing the talks as a result of the policies of the Israeli government and its measures on the ground, as well as practices of settlers and the strangling of the Palestinian economy."
According to some reports, Abbas has urged France to take action regarding French nationals residing in the illegal settlements. 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 Jerusalem in 1967.
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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