07 July, 2012, 00:29 Russia Today
Israeli soldiers stand guard during clashes with palestinian who protest against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the Jewish Hallamish settlement in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)
Israeli officials say a UN fact-finding mission “will not be allowed to enter” the country and its occupied territories. On Friday, the Geneva-based Human Rights Council appointed three officers to probe Israel’s West Bank settlement activity.
The UN's top human rights body has commissioned three jurists to find out how Israel's West Bank settlements affect “the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.” The body called on Tel Aviv “not to obstruct the process of cooperation.”
This resonated harshly with Israel, who took no time to dub the mission “biased and flawed,” vowing not to support the officials.
"The fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “Its existence embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UN Human Rights Council's treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by non-democratic countries.”
Israel cut all ties with the council in March after the 47-nation body passed a resolution establishing the settlement probe. Israel accuses the commission of a “disproportionate focus” on Israel.
"The establishment of this mission is another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC," a Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday.
Now that the team is to be prohibited from Israel, it will have to gain evidence from second-hand sources, like local media.
But even if the mission finds that the settlements violate human rights, any attempts to punish Israel will most probably be defused by the US, Israel’s key ally.
The UN considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. The Human Rights Council says Israel's plans to build more houses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermine the peace process and pose a threat to the two-state solution.
The West Bank settlements are at the core of dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Some 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a territory that Israel expropriated from Jordan in 1967. Palestinians claim the West Bank is part of their future state, and object to any settlements there.
Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank, saying the status of the settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.
Israelis and Palestinians should resume direct talks without delay, say MEPs
PLENARY SESSION External relations − 05-07-2012 - 12:42
Ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians would further not only their own vital interests, but those of the wider region and the EU too, said MEPs on Thursday. In a resolution calling on both parties to resume talks on a two-state solution without delay, they also call on the Israeli Government to stop all construction and extension of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the EU views as illegal.
MEPs welcome the exchange of letters between the two parties initiated on 17 April 2012 and the joint statement by Israel and the Palestinian Authority of 12 May 2012, in which they state their commitment to achieving peace. However, MEPs also voice grave concerns about developments in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
The resolution was passed with 291 votes in favour; 274 against and 39 abstentions.
Area C and East Jerusalem
The resolution calls on Israel to meet its obligations under international humanitarian law by securing an immediate end to house demolitions, evictions and forced displacement of Palestinians, facilitating their free movement, ensuring fair distribution of water to meet their needs and improving their access to social services, in particular education and public health, in Area C and in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian authorities are also encouraged to do more to improve living conditions in the two areas.
MEPs urge that EU-Israeli bilateral agreements be properly enforced, so as to ensure that goods from Israel's illegal West Bank settlements are not exported to the EU under the preferential terms of the EU-Israel Association agreement. They also call on the European External Action Service and the European Commission to investigate allegations of damage done to EU-funded structures in the occupied territories and report back to Parliament.
Parliament reiterates that only a peaceful and non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be sustainable and that it should not affect the dignity of either side. The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, unless they are agreed by the parties themselves, MEPs underline.
They also urge the EU and its member states to play a more active political role in achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and voice support for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's efforts to create credible prospects for re-launching the peace process.
Procedure: motion for a resolution
REF. : 20120704IPR48329