UN Human Rights Council condemns Israel’s settlement construction

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SHAFAQNA – The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution condemning the Israeli regime for violating the rights of the Palestinian people and settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights.

The resolution, which was passed on Friday, called on Israel to put an end to all of the human rights violations linked to the presence of settlements, especially of the right to self-determination.

It condemned the Tel Aviv regime for the “continuation… of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds), in violation of international humanitarian law… and in defiance of the calls by the international community to cease all settlement activities.”

The UN body went on to denounce Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, “forcible transfer of Palestinians,” and changing the demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Syrian Golan Heights.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community. The regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

A Palestinian man prunes the branches of his plants in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, north of al-Khalil (Hebron), with the Israeli settlement of Karmei Tzur seen in the background, on February 26, 2017.

 

The Friday resolution also said the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank “seriously undermine the peace process and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final and just peace solution compliant with international law and legitimacy, including relevant United Nations resolutions, and constitute a threat to the [so-called] two-State solution.”

Meanwhile, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council that Israel has failed to abide by last year’s Resolution 2334, the 15-member body’s first condemnatory measure against Tel Aviv in about eight years.

“The resolution calls on Israel to take steps ‘to cease all settlements activities in the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem (al-Quds).’ No such steps have been taken during the reporting period,” Mladenov told the council.

A Palestinian protester gestures towards Israeli forces during clashes following a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Mughayyir, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on March 24, 2017.

Describing Israel’s accelerated construction of settlements as “one of the main obstacles to peace,” Mladenov said, “Many of the advancements that were made in the past three months will further sever the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and accelerate the fragmentation of the West Bank.”

The developments come two days after Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics announced that last year, 2,630 settlement units were constructed in the occupied West Bank, marking a rise of 40 percent from 2015.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with building new settler units, stressing that the Tel Aviv regime had no plan to limit settlement construction in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Since the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who is a staunch supporter of Israel, the Tel Aviv regime has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

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