UN decision calls for tough measures to stop Israeli annexation in the West Bank

RAMALLAH _ Palestine News Network

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lenk, said the time has come for the international community to take firm action to stop Israel's annexation of large portions of the West Bank through settlement expansion and legislative initiatives.

The failure to do so is likely to demand that Israel formalize the annexation in domestic law, he warned in a report he presented to the UN General Assembly and reviewed by reporters on Wednesday.

"During the five decades of occupation, Israel firmly consolidates its sovereign fingerprints throughout the West Bank," he said.

He stressed that the construction and expansion of settlements, as well as recent legislative measures, had amounted to illegal annexation.

He noted that the Israeli Knesset adopted a number of laws last year that have become a bright green light for further formal steps of annexation, pointing out the recent measures that have sought to apply Israeli law to the West Bank, as well as the Settlement Settlements Act of 2017.

The strict prohibition of annexation in international law applied not only to the official declaration, but also to Israel's regional actions, which had been a cumulative part of its efforts to confront a future claim of official sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territory.

Lenk urged the international community to take steps to ensure accountability, citing the lack of repeated condemnations of "Israel " 's annexation, which, if it were, had the significance of the international community to insist on accountability.

"Despite Israel's record of non-compliance with the directives of the international community, it seldom paid a meaningful price for its defiance, and its appetite to entrench its high-end ambitions went largely uncensored," he said.

"The deep problem, at the heart of this conflict, is not the lack of clarity of international law, which is very clear, but the unwillingness of the state community

The UN rapporteur described the human rights situation in Gaza as bad, citing the ongoing economic and humanitarian deterioration and ongoing demonstrations in which more than 200 Palestinians were martyred by the occupying forces.

He noted that in 2012 the United Nations stated that "Gaza may be uninhabitable by 2020 when electricity was cut to five hours a day, when almost safe drinking water disappears, and when its economy subsides before our eyes, then it becomes ineffective."

He called on the international community to insist that all parties, particularly Israel, the occupying Power, put an immediate end to the catastrophe.


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