Israelis must leave settlements now: UN HR expert

A Palestinian man waves his national flag to protest against the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. (file photo)

A Palestinian man waves his national flag to protest against the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.
Israel must immediately withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories, as settlements are leading to Palestinians’ human rights “being violated consistently and on a daily basis,” a UN expert says.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday, Christine Chanet said that Israel must “immediately and without preconditions cease the settlement activity and to initiate a process of withdrawal from the settlements.”

The French expert also presented a late January report from a fact-finding mission commissioned by the Council that investigated the impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian rights,

Condemning the “rampant annexation” of Palestinian territories, Chanet added that International Criminal Court in The Hague should consider prosecuting Tel Aviv. In January, she had said that Israel settlement activity might constitute “war crimes.”

Palestinian representative at the Council Ibrahim Khrashi condemned Tel Aviv for not taking part in Monday’s meeting.

The settlements kill “any possibility to achieve the two-state solution,” and are “flagrant violation of international law,” he said.

On January 29, Tel Aviv boycotted the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) review that examined Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

Israel severed all ties with the Council in March 2012 after the UNHRC adopted a resolution condemning Tel Aviv’s announcement of new settlement units and demanded a reversal of the settlement policy.

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 in 1967.

Israeli violence remains an almost daily occurrence in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Ramallah.

The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by much of the international community. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the settlement construction is part of Tel Aviv’s policy and will not stop.

(Source / 18.03.2013)

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