West Bank, ALRAY - Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk denounced the reversal statement of US secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Israeli settlement.
Link said in a statement Tuesday that the US decision to ‘jettison international law” had legitimized the illegal Israeli settlements, driving “the very last nail in the coffin of the two-State solution” of two nations living side-by-side, which is the UN-backed outcome for a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
He stressed that US decision effectively grants permission to the Israeli government to formally annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, as it has already done with East Jerusalem.
He added that “further entrench the perpetual Israeli occupation, and will only confirm a one state reality characterized by a rigid two-tier system of legal and political rights, based on ethnicity and religion. This would meet the international definition of apartheid.”
Presently, there are approximately 240 Israeli settlements and around 650,000 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The international community has long held that these settlements are a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (Article 49, para. 6). The Convention strictly prohibits an occupying power from settling its own civilian population in territory that it occupies.
“The Israeli settlements are a major source of human rights violations, and they are the engine of Israel’s occupation,” said Lynk. “They are built on confiscated Palestinian property; they rely upon the illegal appropriation of Palestinian natural resources, including water, land and minerals; and they have forced Palestinians into smaller and more constricted space on their own territory.
The Special Rapporteur called upon the international community to reaffirm the illegality of the settlements. He also asked the international community to take further steps to put international law into action by prohibiting the importation of settlement goods and services into the international marketplace.