Israeli settlements constitute a war crime – UN rights expert
- Independent UN expert presents report to Human Rights Council
- Finds Israeli settlements a war crime
- According to 680,000 settlers in East Jerusalem, West Bank
- Israel boycots session, US does not speak
GENEVA, July 9 (Reuters) – Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank constitute a war crime, a UN human rights investigator said on Friday, calling on countries to impose a price on Israel for its ” illegal occupation “.
Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Addressed a Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Boycotted by Israel, which Does Not Recognize His Mandate and do not cooperate with him.
“In my report, I conclude that the Israeli settlements constitute a war crime,” Lynk said.
He said the settlements violate an absolute ban on an occupying power to transfer part of its civilian population to occupied territory, thus meeting the definition of a war crime under the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court ( CPI).
“I submit to you that this discovery obliges the international community (…) to make Israel understand that its illegal occupation, and its disregard for international law and international opinion, can and will no longer be gratuitous,” Lynk said. at the Geneva Rights Forum.
Many countries view the settlements as a violation of international law. Israel disputes this and cites Biblical and historical links to the land, as well as security needs.
Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva, in a statement to Reuters, dismissed Lynk’s report as “the latest one-sided and one-sided report against Israel” and accused him of turning a blind eye to violations committed by the Palestinian Authority and the leaders of Gaza, Hamas.
Lynk said Israel’s demolition of Bedouin tents in a West Bank village on Wednesday left residents without food or water in the heat of the Jordan Valley, calling it “both illegal and heartless.”
“The gradual seizure of Palestinian land as well as the protection of settlements constitutes a further consolidation of Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank,” he said.
There are nearly 300 settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, with more than 680,000 Israeli settlers, Lynk said.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally with observer status on the council, did not speak to the council, which it accuses of having an anti-Israel bias.
Lotte Knudsen, European Union ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said the settlements were illegal under international law.
“Actions such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscation of houses will only worsen an already tense environment.”
Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, but the issue of Jewish settlements on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war has long been a stumbling block in the peace process . The last round of peace talks collapsed in 2014.
Reporting by Stéphanie Nebehay; edited by Mark Heinrich and Giles Elgood
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