Friday, February 01, 2013

Creeping annexation

The UN has finally admitted the obvious: Israel's building of settlements in the West Bank is a creeping annexation of Palestinian territory and a crime under international law:

Israel must withdraw all settlers from the West Bank or potentially face a case at the international criminal court (ICC) for serious violations of international law, says a report by a United Nations agency that was immediately dismissed in Jerusalem as "counterproductive and unfortunate".

All settlement activity in occupied territory must cease "without preconditions" and Israel "must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers", said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Israel, it said, was in violation of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, which forbids the transfer of civilian populations to occupied territory.

The settlements were "leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination," it said.

Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, and prevented UN staff from interviewing people within the West Bank. In New Zealand, we'd call that "perverting the course of justice". Time to take them to the ICC.