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Palestine urges UN to end Israel’s impunity from punishment

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)
Palestinians trying to block a main Israeli settler road are confronted by Israeli forces during a protest against the confiscation of Palestinian land, near the village of Yatta, south of al-Khalil (Hebron), in the occupied West Bank, on March 12, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Riyad Mansour has called for holding Israel to account for its crimes against Palestinians.

In three identical letters addressed to the UN secretary-general, the president of the UN Security Council, and the president of the UN General Assembly on Monday, Mansour said “it’s time to stop Israel’s escape from punishment” for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

He urged the international community to “urgently assume its responsibilities” in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions, including the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounces settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

The Palestinian ambassador said, “Israel continues to kill, injure and maim Palestinian civilians,” referring specifically to the murder of Atef Hanaysheh, who was killed at the hands of Israeli forces during their attack on the Palestinians who were taking part in an anti-settlement protest in the village of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus City, in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Emboldened by the anti-Palestine policies of former US president Donald Trump, Israel stepped up its settlement expansion in defiance of Security Council Resolution 2334.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The Palestinian envoy said Israel continued to demolish Palestinian-owned houses and threatened to destroy more homes and to expel more families in East Jerusalem al-Quds and its vicinity.

Mansour referred to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that said the Israeli regime shot up the monthly rate at which it destroys the Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied West Bank by 65 percent this year compared to the last.

According to OCHA, Israel demolished or seized 153 Palestinian-owned structures in February alone, displacing 305 people, including 172 children.

Mansour also warned that Israel’s plan to destroy more than 100 homes in al-Bustan neighborhood in Selwan, near the al‐Aqsa Mosque, would lead to the forcible displacement of 1,550 Palestinians, 60 percent of whom are children.

Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are almost never given. They also sometimes force Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.

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