|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Statement by Bureau of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian
People on Israel’s Settlement Activities in Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued the following statement today, 24 February:
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is alarmed by the Israeli authorities’ recent decision to construct more than 500 new homes in the “Shilo” settlement and the attempt to retroactively “legalize” some 200 settlement units built without permit in the West Bank.
The Committee notes with concern that the move is described by the Israeli settlement watchdog organization Peace Now as the “biggest construction plan to date” under the current Israeli Government. By this decision, Israel continues to ignore calls by the international community for halting its illegal settlement activity, further diminishing already fading prospects for resuming Israeli-Palestinian talks and for realizing the two-State solution.
It should be noted that the retroactive “legalization” of settler units is being carried out at the same time as Israel accelerates the pace of the demolition of Palestinian homes allegedly built without permits in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, in 2011, some 622 homes and livelihood structures belonging to Palestinian families were destroyed, forcibly displacing almost 1,100 people, over half of them children. This constitutes yet another breach by Israel of its obligation as the occupying Power to protect the civilian population under its control in addition to violating the right to property, to adequate housing and to livelihoods of the Palestinian families affected by such illegal policies.
The international community firmly maintains that settlement activity is illegal under international law, a view that was reiterated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to the region. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The Committee calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to live up to their responsibilities in accordance with article 1 of the Convention to “undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances”.
Also, the Security Council, by its resolution 446 of 22 March 1979, determined that settlements were both contrary to international law and an impediment to peace. The Bureau of the Committee calls upon the Council, as the genuine guarantor of international peace and security, to act decisively against the continuing disregard by Israel for its resolutions and the continuing obstruction of a peaceful settlement on the basis of those resolutions and international law.
The Bureau of the Committee reiterates its call on the Israeli Government to immediately cease all settlement activity as called for by the international community, including the Quartet, and to refrain from any acts that undermine international efforts to bring Israeli-Palestinian talks back on track. The international community must not lose sight of the important goal set by the Quartet last September to reach an agreement by the end of this year. Such agreement should lead to the end of the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and an end to the conflict with the just resolution of all permanent status issues, and the independence of a contiguous, viable and democratic State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel.
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