UN rights office says Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas amount to a ‘war crime’

The UN Human Rights Office says in a report that the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem amounts to a war crime.

GENEVA – The UN human rights office says in a report published Friday that the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem amounts to a war crime.

The report covers the one-year period from November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023, and states that around 24,300 homes in existing settlements in the West Bank were ‘advanced’ – the highest number in a year since monitoring began. in 2017. She regretted the increase in the construction of new houses in settlements in recent months.

“The West Bank is already in crisis. Yet settler violence and settlement violations have reached shocking new levels and risk eliminating any practical possibility for the creation of a viable Palestinian state,” said UN human rights chief Volker Türk. He presented the report to the Human Rights Council on Friday.

Reports this week that Israel plans to build nearly 3,500 settler homes in three areas are “contrary to international law,” he said.

Türk said the establishment and expansion of settlements amounts to Israel’s relocation of its own population into areas it occupies, “amounting to a war crime under international law,” his office said in a statement.

The Israeli diplomatic mission in Geneva, which regularly accuses Türk’s office of overlooking violence by Palestinian extremists against Israelis, said the report identified the deaths of 36 Israelis and the injuries of nearly 300 others in attacks as a result of ” Palestinian terrorism” has been completely ignored. last year.

Much of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law.

Extensive settlement activity and a rise in violence in the West Bank in recent months have been largely overshadowed by bloodshed and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israeli forces have led a blistering military campaign against the militant group Hamas following the deadly Oct. 7 attacks in Gaza. Israel.

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