Continued settlement construction will probably make Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land irreversible, said Richard Falk, a UN human rights rapporteur. (photo, from brooklynmuseum.org)
He added that because the peace process was aimed at creating an independent, sovereign Palestinian state, it appeared to be based on an illusion.
He said the UN, the US and Israel had failed to uphold Palestinians’ rights.
According to Israeli officials Falk’s report on the Palestinian territories is biased and serves a political agenda.
Since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, nearly half a million Jews moved to more than 100 settlements.
Although these settlements are held to be illegal under international law, Israel disputes this.
Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had become so extensive it amounted to de-facto annexation of Palestinian land, Falk said in a report for the UN General Assembly
According to him this undercut assumptions behind UN Security Council resolutions which said Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967 was temporary and reversible.
And the current US sponsored peace process, which started in September, is based on these assumptions.
This now appears to be an illusion, said Falk.
Israel said the report was utterly biased and criticised its author for making no mention of what it called Palestinian terrorist attacks.
Falk told journalists that his mandate was to report on the Israeli occupation, not on the rights and wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He said his conclusion was based not only on the deepening expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but on the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and the demolition of their homes.
Since Israel ended a partial 10-month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, peace talks are stalling. Washington wants the negotiations to resume.
Falk urged the UN to support civil society initiatives, such as campaigns to sanction or boycott Israel for alleged violations of international law.
(map, from bbc.co.uk)