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UN Report: Israel Must Immediately Dismantle Settlements or Face ICC

'Magnitude of violations relating to Israel's policies of dispossessions, evictions, demolitions and displacements from land shows the widespread nature of these breaches of human rights'

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Israel must immediately stop without preconditions all settlements, "developed through a system of total segregation," which consistently and on a daily basis violate the rights of Palestinians and are in violation of the Geneva Convention, a UN report published Thursday states.

A 14 year-old Palestinian is arrested during a weekly demonstration in Beit Ommar. (Photo: Palestine Solidarity Project) The scathing findings are from the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from the UN's Human Rights Council (HRC), which notes that the illegal settlements, through systemic abuses, violate Palestinians' right to self-determination, and could lead Israel to face the International Criminal Court.

"The magnitude of violations relating to Israel's policies of dispossessions, evictions, demolitions and displacements from land shows the widespread nature of these breaches of human rights," stated Unity Dow of Botswana, who joined Christine Chanet, Judge of the Court of Cassation of France and Asma Jahangir, leading Pakistani human rights lawyer and Trustee of the Board of the UN Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in the Mission.

"The motivation behind violence and intimidation against the Palestinians and their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands, allowing the settlements to expand," she added.

Jahangir stated that the group is "calling on the government of Israel to ensure full accountability for all violations, put an end to the policy of impunity and to ensure justice for all victims.”

The report documents a "multitude of violations" against Palestinians, including:

  • discrimatory legal practices
  • "arbitrary arrest and detention, including administrative detention and mass arrests and incarceration," as well as the arrest of children
  • impunity for settlers who engage in violence against Palestinians
  • ongoing dispossession and displacement of Palestinians
  • violent suppression of peaceful protest
  • restricting Palestinian access to water, either through policies that give Israel the "predominance in the allocation of West Bank water resources," the inability of Palestinians to transfer water due to fragmented territory and restrictions on movement or deliberate destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure by Israel
  • destruction of Palestinian farmland and crops

The report adds that private businesses that are profiting from the settlements must terminate their activities there if they are contributing to rights violations against Palestinians.

Israel's foreign ministry called the report, with which it did not cooperate, "counterproductive and unfortunate" and referred to the HRC as "one-sided."

On Tuesday, Israel boycotted an HRC review of the country's rights situation, marking the first time a country has been absent for its rights review since the HRC began them in 2007.

Israel cut ties with the HRC after the March 2012 announcement the body would embark on the fact-finding mission.