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UN rights expert calls on Israel to withdraw settlers from Palestine territories

Israel must cease all settlement activity and immediately withdraw settlers from the Palestinian territories, according to a UN expert speaking before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Monday. Christine Chanet [official profile] presented a report [text, PDF] published in January [JURIST report] that had been commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council "to establish an independent international fact-finding mission investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem." The International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [official website] calls upon Israel to cease all settlement activity in compliance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention [text]. Israel has condemned the report [AFP report] and did not take part in the UNHRC meeting Monday. The Palestinians are expected to put forth a resolution on Monday calling for the implementation of the fact-finding missions recommendations.

The most recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine have raised concern of possible human rights violations. In December UN Special Rapporteur [official website] Richard Falk called on Israel [JURIST report] to fully implement and continue to support the recent conflict-ending ceasefire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. In November UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] pressured Israel [JURIST report] to avoid targeting civilian structures in Gaza, expressing acute concern over the surge in the number of Palestinian civilian deaths that month. In August Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called on Israel to investigate [JURIST report] its treatment of Palestinian detainees, alleging that two had been mistreated. In June the UN also urged Israel to end its blockade [JURIST report] of the Gaza Strip, alleging that it was violating international law.

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