Jewish Settlements Violate Geneva Convention, says United Nations Human Rights Council

The body calls for an immediate withdrawal of all existing settlements occupying Palestinian territory.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JANUARY 31, 2013

A team of researchers from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations warned Thursday that Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime. The Council said that, being a war crime, Israel’s policy falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (TPI), so it has demanded the suspension of such policies “without conditions” and the “immediate withdrawal” of all existing settlements.

“Israel should, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, end all settlement policy without conditions,” reads the report of the research team, led by the French judge Christine Chanet.

“They should immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the statement continued.

The research team was created in March 2012 by the Human Rights Council of the UN to analyze Israel’s settlement policy in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government has refused to cooperate with the experts and is shielded itself by claiming that the Council has an unbalanced approach and that its settlement policy in the West Bank is justified by the Bible.

In preparing the report, the experts questioned more than 50 people who came to Jordan last November to testify about the confiscation of land, damage to their livelihoods – including olive trees – and attacks by Jewish settlers , the statement said.

“The mission believes that behind these attacks and the intimidation against Palestinians and their property is hidden an order to expel the local population from their lands and allow the expansion of settlements,” continues the report.

The settlements, according to UN experts, “are enabling progressive annexation preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and undermines the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.”

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibits the transfer of civilians to occupy territories and their violation, the report said, could be considered a war crime and enter therefore in the powers of the International Criminal Court.

Therefore, according to the report, the possible ratification of the Rome Statute, which governs the TPI, “could lead to a process of accountability for serious violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law and the right to justice for the victims. ”

About 250 Jewish settlements have been established in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from since the military occupation of Israel in 1967. The settlements now hold an estimated population of 520,000 people, according to the UN report.

These settlements prevent Palestinian access to water resources and agricultural lands, continues the document. This past December, Palestine accused Israel of planning new “war crimes” by expanding settlements.

Following the decision of the General Assembly to recognize Palestine, Israel announced the construction of 3,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two territories that otherwise would constitute the Gaza Strip, which is seen as part of the future Palestinian state.

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Terrorist Israeli state threatens to decapitate Palestinian government

Foreign Affairs Minister says Israel will attack Palestine if the UN accepts its request to become an observer member state.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 14, 2012

The Israeli threats are gaining intensity as the date approaches for the UN to decide if it recognizes Palestine as a non-member observer state. The Palestinian diplomatic initiative has strong opposition from Israel and the United States, who fear that if this initiative moves towards, Palestine may soon be recognized as a  state in its own right.

If the November 29th General Assembly of the UN grant Gaza and the West Bank a status similar to the Vatican, the doors would be left open for multilateral agencies, including Justice International to open.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that a document had been issued that instructs Israeli ambassadors to communicate their respective capitals about Israel’s intention: “if the Palestinians go ahead with their project of recognition, Israel would dismantle the Palestinian Authority and overthrow its president, Mahmoud Abbas.”

“If the Palestinian proposal is accepted by the UN General Assembly, in our view this would be breaking the rules and cause an extreme response from us,” Lieberman said Wednesday during a visit to Ariel, one of the settlements located in Palestinian territories.

Lieberman’s threats, although serious, have not been officially confirmed by Israel. The country hasn’t talked about any reprisals that it will take if the vote favors the Palestinian membership. However, some of the measures being considered are the freezing of the transfer of taxes from Israel to Palestinian coffers, the expansion of settlements and the restriction of movement for Palestinian politicians.

Washington has not specified what the next steps will be after President Barack Obama called his Palestinian counterpart last Sunday and asked him to postpone the diplomatic initiative. “This is not about someone telling us that we should not go to the UN, but what we get in exchange for not doing it,” said Palestinian leader Mohamed Stayyeh, to reporters.

The Palestinians have calculated that a large majority of at least 130 votes in the General Assembly will vote in favor of their request. Among Europeans there is not a consensus position and the total is expected to be split. More than two years of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis are stalled. The lack of proposals on the table and the relentless expansion of settlements has encouraged Palestinians to seek new ways to progress on its way to the creation of a Palestinian state based on the format from 1967.

The idea however is that this goal is reached through direct negotiations between the parties, who must decide on the thorniest issues, including border demarcation, the future of Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem. The Palestinians accuse Israel of not wanting to sit down and negotiate. And the Palestinians have refused to sit at the negotiating table until Israel ceases constructing settlements. More than half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are part of the territory of Palestine.

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