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Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:17AM
The construction site of a new housing project at an illegal Israeli settlement in east al-Quds (Jerusalem) (file photo)

The construction site of a new housing project at an illegal Israeli settlement in east al-Quds (Jerusalem) (file photo)

The United Nations has called on the Israeli regime to halt all its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and withdraw the settlers from the Palestinian land. “Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” a report by a UN human rights inquiry said on Thursday. “It (Israel) must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories),” the report added. It said that the Israeli settlements violate the 1949 Geneva Conventions, forbidding the transfer of people into the occupied territory, which could be equal to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The Israeli regime increased its settlement activities after an upgrade in the Palestinian status at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29, 2012. The 193-member General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state. However, the Israeli ministry for foreign affairs issued a statement and slammed the UN human rights report shortly after it was published. “The Human Rights Council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel. This latest report is yet another unfortunate reminder of that,” the statement said. On January 29, Tel Aviv refused to attend a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) review session in Geneva to examine the Israeli regime’s violations of the rights of Palestinians. In December 2012, Palestinians threatened to take Israel to the International Criminal Court over its latest decision to build more settler units in the occupied territories. A senior member of the Palestinian Authority, Nabil Sha’at, said, “By continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.” The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by much of the international community. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the settlement construction is part of Tel Aviv’s policy and will not stop. MKA/HSN
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