Israeli Settlements Amount to 'War Crime', UN Special Rapporteur Says

Israeli Settlements Amount to 'War Crime', UN Special Rapporteur Says

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A UN human rights rapporteur said the world should finally hold Israel accountable for its ongoing settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel can no longer be allowed to go on with its settlement policy in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds with impunity, Michael Lynk, a UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.

Such a practice goes against an international norm prohibiting an occupying power from transferring a part of its population to an occupied territory, Lynk said, adding that Israeli settlements thus violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute, RT rerported.

“In my report, I conclude that the Israeli settlements do amount to a war crime,” the special rapporteur said, adding that the international community that has so far been “reluctant” to enforce the international norms in this regard should no longer stand idle in the face of this continued violation.

“The Israeli government will not suddenly wake up one day and decide on its own that an alien occupation that is metastasizing into annexation and even apartheid, and a one-state reality of vastly unequal rights, is entirely out-of-step with the 21st century,” he said.

The settlements “guarantee that the occupied territory will remain under Israeli control in perpetuity” and de-facto block the way for the creation of a “genuine Palestinian state,” Lynk added.

The special rapporteur presented a plan of action for the international community involving a number of steps, ranging from supporting a probe into Israeli crimes by the International Criminal Court to devising a set of “accountability” measures to bring Tel Aviv “in compliance with the international law.”

“The time for criticism of the Israeli settlements has passed,” Lynk said, expressing his hope that his findings would compel the international community to make sure that Israel’s illegal occupation “can and will no longer be cost-free.”

Washington – Tel Aviv’s closest ally – has not yet commented on the report. The US left the UN Human Rights Council under former President Donald Trump, and only recently regained observer status there after President Joe Biden declared his intention to re-engage with the human rights body.

Some US-based pro-Jewish activists slammed the report. Anne Bayefsky, the director of the New York-based Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, called it a “revolting example of promoting anti-Semitism under the guise of protecting human rights.”

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