An UN panel has concluded that Israel’s settlements are violating Palestinian rights. The panel added that Israel is attempting to annex Palestinian territories by creating Jewish settlements.
The panel also stated that the Israeli government has committed multiple violations of international law, including the possibility of war crimes.
The New York Times reports that the findings were presented in Geneva after they spent six months reviewing information for the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Christine Chanet of France led the panel, which concluded that Israel’s settlements have violated the Geneva Conventions, which prevent a state from transferring its own population into occupied territory. Chanet was also asked if Israel’s actions count as war crimes.
She replied by saying that the country’s offenses fall under Article 8 of the International Criminal Court statute. She added, “Article 8 of the I.C.C. statute is in the chapter of war crimes. That is the answer.”
While the report’s findings are not legally binding to Israel, the UN panel’s conclusion about Israeli settlements will likely increase tensions between Israel and the UN Human Rights Council, notes The Washington Post.
Israeli officials immediately condemned the report. Palestinians, meanwhile, stated that the report is “proof of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing,” as well as the country’s hopes to undermine the creation of a Palestinian state.
The Palestinians also hinted that they could use the report’s findings should they take legal actions toward a war crimes prosecution. The Israeli government continues to build settlements in occupied territories that have been claimed by the Palestinians. These areas include the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The report added that this is going on, “despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation.”
More than 500,000 Israelis are currently living in the settlements in Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and around east Jerusalem. The Palestinians hope that east Jerusalem will one day become their capital city.
Do you agree with the UN panel, which says that Israeli settlements in Palestinian-occupied territory must stop?