Palestinian territories | Israeli settlements ‘a war crime’, says UN

(Geneva) The establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories constitutes “a war crime” and “risks eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state”, the Palestinian Authority warned on Friday. UN.

The establishment and continued expansion of settlements “amounts to the transfer by Israel of its own civilian population to the territories it occupies” and “such transfers constitute a war crime” denounces a report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner to human rights.

“Such transfers constitute a war crime which may result in the individual criminal liability of those involved,” underlines the document which covers the period from November 2022 to the end of October 2023.

“Settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state,” the report said.

“Reports released this week that Israel plans to build an additional 3,476 homes for settlers in Maale Adoumim, Efrat and Kedar go against international law,” said Volker Türk, the High Commissioner for Human Rights. , quoted in a press release published on the occasion of the publication of the report.

“The size of existing Israeli settlements expanded significantly” during the period under review.


View of the Israeli settlement of Efrata, in the Palestinian town of Al-Khader, in the occupied West Bank

Around 24,300 housing units within existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank were added during this period, the number “the highest ever recorded since the census began in 2017.”

This included approximately 9,670 housing units in East Jerusalem, the document said.

“The establishment and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements occurs alongside the displacement of Palestinians due to Israeli settler and state violence,” the report further notes.

Added to this are “forced evictions, non-issuance of building permits, house demolitions and movement restrictions for Palestinians”.

Since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, after the unprecedented attacks by the Islamist movement on Israeli territory, violent incidents have also broken out in the occupied West Bank.

Already at the end of December, Volker Türk estimated that “the intensity of violence and repression is unheard of for years” in the West Bank.

More than 490,000 people currently live in settlements in the West Bank, deemed illegal under international law.

In the context of the war in the Gaza Strip, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed at the end of February that “new settlements are counterproductive to achieving lasting peace”.


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