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PLO head calls on ICC to investigate Israel settlement activities

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a probe into the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement expansion in the occupied territories.

“Israel continues to systematically violate the rights of the Palestinian people and to give a green light and support for settlers to take over more Palestinian land and to terrorize the Palestinian population,” PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said in a statement on Tuesday.

The PLO official further called on the international community not to remain silent on Israel’s expansionist policies.

The Palestinian chief negotiator further noted that while the Israeli regime advanced plans for the construction of more than 3,200 new settlement units in West Bank last month, it concurrently razed about 30 Palestinian homes.

The demolitions made 240 people homeless and more than half of those affected were children, he added.

“The time has come to move to the next stage and investigate” Israel's settlement construction, “two years since the initial study of the files that Palestine transferred [to the ICC] regarding the colonial settlement regime, the military actions against Palestine, the aggression against Gaza and the issue of the prisoners,” Erekat pointed out.

A picture taken on January 30, 2017 shows cranes at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev built in a suburb of East Jerusalem al-Quds. (By AFP)

He described The Hague-based court as the only place to bring Israeli war criminals to justice, noting that Israel’s illegal seizure and annexation of occupied Palestinian land obligates the immediate implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2334.

The statement came on the same day that Israeli officials said they plan to build 3,000 new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank.

The Security Council Resolution 2334 demands Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

It also states that the building of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinians state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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