United Nations: The annexation scheme is illegal and has disastrous consequences

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michel Bachelet, confirmed today, Monday, that Israel's plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank is "illegal", warning that the consequences may be "catastrophic" .

A few days before Israel's possible launch of a mechanism to annex settlements in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, Bachelet added its voice to the calls for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to back away from the scheme.

"The annexation is illegal, a point on the line," Bachelet said in a statement, adding: "Any annexation, whether it is for 30% of the West Bank or for 5%."

Bachelet urged Israel to "listen to its former senior officials and generals, as well as to many voices in the world that warn it against proceeding on this dangerous path."

International condemnations are escalating ahead of the July 1 date set by Israel to launch the implementation of the deal of the century.

Bachelet urged Israel to return from its plan, warning that "the effects of the annexation will last for decades and will be very harmful to Israel as well as to the Palestinians."

She said, "The specific consequences of the annexation cannot be expected."

"But it could be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel, and for the whole region."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that "any attempt to annex any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories will not only seriously harm efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region, but will likely entrench, perpetuate and exacerbate the serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades."

Her statement cautioned that such a step would definitely increase restrictions on the Palestinians ’right to freedom of movement, while their population centers become isolated enclaves.

In addition, large areas of private land are likely to be illegally confiscated, and in cases where this does not happen, many Palestinians may lose access to their lands to cultivate.

The Bachelet office warned that the Palestinians inside the annexed areas would be under great pressure to leave, noting that entire population unrecognized under the Israeli plan would face the risk of "forced transfer".

The settlements, which are essentially a clear violation of international law, will definitely expand.

"This is a very flammable mixture," Bachelet said.

"I am extremely concerned that even the simplest forms of annexation will lead to an escalation of violence and loss of life, while building walls, deploying security forces and increasing the distance between the two peoples," she said.

Bachelet held that illegal annexation would not change Israel's obligations under international law as an occupying power toward the occupied people.

"Rather, it will seriously harm the possibility of a two-state solution, undermine the prospects for renewed negotiations and cement the existing serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing today."


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