Illegal Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (File photo: Getty)
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London has called for an immediate end to Israel’s settlement expansions and human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
This came in a discussion with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967. The discussion makes part of Agenda Item7 on settlements in the West Bank held during the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 28 February – 1 April 2022.
PRC’s speaker Ruveyda Enes underscored the illegality of Israeli settlement expansions as one of the most widely condemned violations of international law.
Referring to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Ruveyda said that transferring the occupying power’s civilians into the occupied territory is prohibited without exception: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
“However, today close to 700,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”, the statement added. “Since 1967 Israel has permitted and even encouraged people to live in the new illegal settlements established in the occupied territories. At the same time, demolished an estimated 50,000 Palestinian homes and other Palestinian building structures, forcing Palestinian residents to be crammed into overcrowded neighbourhoods.
PRC added that only 7% of the building permits issued in Jerusalem over the past few years have gone to Palestinian neighbourhoods where 40% of the city’s population lives. Also, the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank approved only 21 of 1,485 applications from Palestinians for construction permits in Area C. This means local Israeli authorities rejected over 98 per cent of Palestinian building permit requests. On the other hand, Israel promoted projects for more than 30,000 settler homes in the West Bank for four years.
PRC called on the members of the Human Rights Council to condemn Israel’s unlawful settlement expansions, saying this settlement policy is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.
PRC demanded an end to settlement expansions and human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including resource alienation, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, mounting settler violence, and racial discrimination.