UN experts: Israeli settlements violate rights

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on Jan. 30 adopted the first report (PDF) by the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which concluded that a multitude of violations have occurred. The report relies on the “status and treatment of protected persons” provision under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention in arguing that the “settlements are a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State.”

Specifically, the report claims that the settlements have been established for the benefit of only Israeli Jews, and those living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory endure segregation enforced by military personnel and law enforcement. The impact of the violations is seen to allow the settlements to expand while simultaneously driving Palestinians from their land. The HRC has called on the Israeli government to “ensure full accountability for all violations, put an end to the policy of impunity, and to ensure justice for all victims.”

The fact-finding mission was empowered by HRC resolution 19/17, enitled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan,” finding evidence that the existence of the settlements has led to daily breaches of human rights characterized by “the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people.” 

From Jurist, Jan. 31. 

Israeli forces should cease its use of live ammunition against civilians that may constitute excessive use of force, according to a statement (PDF) also released on Jan. 30 by UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley. He expressed concern over the increasing number of civilians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. It was reported that since November eight civilians, including three minors, have been killed by the use of live ammunition. Rawley urged the Israeli government to conduct “timely, thorough, independent and impartial” investigations into the incidents and to hold those responsible for the deaths accountable. He stressed that the right to peaceful protest must be respected and strict measures must be taken to keep the protests non-violent and avoid further casualties.

From Jurist, Jan. 31. Used with permission.