UN rights expert urges Security Council to act on Israel settlements News
UN rights expert urges Security Council to act on Israel settlements

UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk [official profile] recommended [press release] on Friday that the UN Security Council and the General Assembly act to ensure Israel complies with Security Council resolution 2234 [text, PDF], which confirms that Israeli settlements in already occupied Palestinian territory violate international law. According to Lynk, “The settlement announcements by the Israeli government, only a month after the clear direction of the international community, are a defiant and troubling repudiation of resolution 2334.” Lynk said that the lack of enforcement of the resolution has encouraged Israel to continue with construction of settlements. He stressed that mere paper will not preserve the “viable two-state solution” and action must be taken to “change state behvaiour in these circumstances.” Lynk’s recommendation follows the Israeli government’s approval of construction of new settlements [JURIST report] in the occupied West Bank. According to Lynk, the settlements, which currently create problematic barriers in West Bank, undermine the right of Palestinians to work, access health care and education, and have family life.

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. Last month the Israel High Court of Justice (HCJ) [official website] ruled that the controversial Amona settlement in the West Bank must be dismantled [JURIST report] by December 25. Earlier the same month Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved [JURIST report] the Formalization Bill to legalize the West Bank outposts, which was intended in part to stop the evacuation of Amona outpost. In March the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] over the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August 2015 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while a family slept inside. In April 2015 HRW alleged [HRW report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank were using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws.