UN rights expert calls for halt to Israel’s illegal settlements in West Bank

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UNITED NATIONS, Feb 4 (APP): A United Nations human rights
expert has called on Security Council and General Assembly to
explore effective diplomatic and political measures to ensure
Israeli compliance with SC Resolution 2334 (2016), which affirms
that all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory
constitute a flagrant violation of international law.
“The settlement announcements by the Israeli Government, only
a month after the clear direction of the international community,
are a defiant and troubling repudiation of Resolution 2334,”
Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk, who is mandated by the UN Human
Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of human
rights in the Palestinian territories, occupied since 1967, said
in a statement.
“If Israel understands that the international community will
take no meaningful steps to enforce the Council’s Resolution, it
will continue to intensify its settlement project undeterred,”
the Rapporteur warned in the statement issued by the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“And if the international community intends to preserve what
remains of a viable two-state solution, it must not assume that
resolutions, critical statements and international conferences
alone will change state behaviour in these circumstances,” he
stressed.
The human rights expert’s appeal comes as, according to
the press release, the Israeli Government approves the
construction of over 6,000 new settlement homes in the occupied
West Bank and East Jerusalem, and as the Israeli Knesset moves
closer to adopting the ‘Settlement Regularization Bill,’ which
will legalize the homes of more than 4,000 settlers in dozens
of illegal outposts, built on private Palestinian lands throughout
the West Bank.
“Continued settlement activity poses a grave threat to
Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” the Rapporteur
noted.
The policies and practices of the Israeli authorities that
suggest an advance towards de facto annexation of parts of the
West Bank are increasingly alarming, the expert said. “Annexation
of occupied land likewise is a grave breach of international law,”
the Rapporteur stated.