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UN debates illegal settlement building

March 31, 2013

A report condemning Israeli settlement building was debated on Monday at the UN. The report was first published in January by a fact finding team from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The report states in no uncertain terms that settlement building must stop immediately and settlers evacuated from occupied territory. It also concludes that Israel could be culpable for building over the pre-1967 lines before the International Criminal Court, if the Palestinians become party to the Rome Statute.

Arab and Islamic blocs in the United Nations are drafting a resolution to ask the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the conclusions of a fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements.

Christine Chanet, Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission, said on Monday that:

– “Israel should put an immediate end to this colonisation process, begin a process of withdrawing settlements, and ensure effective remedy.”

– Settlement building was a “growing, creeping form of annexation” which compromised the Palestinian right to self-determination.

– “The settlers seem to enjoy all the rights, while they are denied to Palestinians.”

– Palestinians “are subject to a particularly complex civil law system and to a military criminal procedure which does not protect them against arbitrary arrest and detention and does not guarantee a fair trial to the accused.”

– “Even children aged between 12 and 17 are subject to this regime.”

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also spoke on Monday, telling the Human Rights Council that Israel must prosecute settlers who carry out violent acts against Palestinians.

“On the Israeli side, settler violence continues to be perpetrated with impunity,” she said.

“And Israel needs to hold perpetrators accountable. While investigations are not opened into most incidents of settler violence, between 2005 and 2011, only 9 per cent of the investigations opened resulted in an indictment.”

However, despite the debate at the UN, Israel’s desire to carry out measures that contravene international law continues unabated. New Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, a Jewish settler and member of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, said in a television interview on Monday that the incoming Israeli government would keep expanding Jewish settlements to the same extent as the previous government.

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