On Tuesday (9 November), the majority of UN member states condemned the continuation of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories and called for their immediate halt.
Members of the Fourth Committee of the UN’s General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a draft resolution on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem (or al-Quds, as it is known in Arabic) and the occupied Golan Heights. The resolution received 142 votes, against the objection of seven countries, including the United States and Israel. 16 countries abstained from the vote.
The resolution condemned “Israel’s construction and expansion of settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem, including via it calls Plan E1, which aims to link its illegal settlements around occupied East Jerusalem, and thereby isolate it further.”
The resolution further condemned “the continued demolition of Palestinian homes and the expulsion of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, and the denial of Palestinians of their rights to reside there.”
“The settlement activities currently occurring across the Jordan Valley are further dismembering the occupied Palestinian territories and undermining the geographical contiguity.”
The resolution condemned “Israel’s demolition of Palestinians’ buildings in the Wadi al-Homs neighborhood in Sur Baher village, south of occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of international law.”
And, the resolution continued, it was “gravely concerned at all acts of violence, destruction, harassment, provocation and incitement by extremist Israeli settlers and groups of armed settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, against Palestinian civilians, including children, and their properties, including homes, agricultural lands.”
The resolution stressed “that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development.”
The resolution called for “to immediately and completely stop all Israeli settlement activities throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan.”
Michael Lynk, the UN human rights investigator, recently stated that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank amount to a war crime. Lynk also called on all countries to make clear to Israel that its “illegal occupation” will not continue without a price.
Following his investigation, Lynk said “I tell you that this outcome obligates the international community (…) to make clear to Israel that its illegal occupation and defiance of international law and international opinion cannot continue without a price”.
On 3 March this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in the Hague, Holland, announced its opening of an official investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.