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UN rights chief slams Israeli infringement of Palestinian rights

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli soldiers restrain a Palestinian man as troops try to arrest him in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on September 20, 2016. (Photos by AFP)

The United Nations rights chief has censured Israel’s illegal activities in the occupied territories and its blockade on the Gaza Strip, accusing the Tel Aviv regime of depriving the Palestinians of their basic rights.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein made the criticism in an address at the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday.

“In the occupied Palestinian territory, after half a century of Israeli occupation, with the degradation of another people which it brings, the accumulation of despair is widespread. Pervasive discrimination deprives Palestinians of their basic rights,” Hussein said.

The UN official also stressed that he had “repeatedly” urged Israel to end its so-called administrative detention policy, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows incarceration of Palestinians for up to six months.

Touching on the Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, he said that the regime has authorized over 5,500 new settler units since the beginning of this year despite a UN Security Council resolution condemning such moves.

This photo taken on June 4, 2016, shows the Israeli settlement of Ateret (background), as the Palestinian national flag flies from the highest point of the West Bank city of Rawabi.

In December 2016, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, condemning the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

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Elsewhere in his remarks, Hussein expressed concerns over a controversial law passed by the Israeli parliament last month, which legalized dozens of Israeli outposts built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The legislation has also drawn global condemnation.

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“This amounts to the confiscation of private property, and contravenes international law,” he said.

Additionally, the UN rights chief denounced the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip that has been in place since June 2007 and affected almost all the two million inhabitants of the enclave.

“Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment, continues to deprive people of access to even basic goods and services,” he pointed out.

Emboldened by the new US administration's support, Tel Aviv has accelerated its Palestinian land grab and settlement construction in the occupied territories.

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