On Friday 1 April, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted two resolutions, on the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, and concerning the illegality of settlements.
At the Council’s 49th session in Geneva, Switzerland, 38 countries voted in favour of the “Settlements Resolution in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. Five countries (Ukraine, Lithuania, Brazil, Cameroon and Honduras) abstained, and four countries (the United States, Britain, the Marshall Islands and Malawi) voted against the motion.
41 countries voted in favor a resolution titled “The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.” Three countries (Lithuania, Cameroon and Honduras) abstained, and three countries (the United States, Britain and the Marshall Islands) voted against it.
A UN report recently confirmed that the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank has increased by 23 percent since 2014.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, has reported that the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank in 2014 was approximately 370,000.
At the Council’s recent session, Lynk stated that the number has since then reached 480,000. He added that the total number of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories is now 710,000.
Lynk said that Israel’s occupation of Palestine amounts to an “apartheid”, like that of South Africa.
Israel continues to impose a policy of racial discrimination against Palestinians before the eyes of the international community, he added.
Days before, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, expressed his “grave concern about the expansion of settlements by Israel in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Wennesland said that “the expansion of the construction of settlements continues to fuel violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, perpetuates the occupation, and undermines the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the possibility of establishing an independent, viable and geographically-linked state.”
“670,000 Israeli citizens currently live in more than 130 illegal settlements and around 100 outposts across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem”, he added.
Illegal settlers have recently increased their attacks against Palestinian civilians, their lands, homes, and farms.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 2020 a total of 358 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians were recorded; in 2021 the number rose to 496.
370 of the 2021 attacks resulted in property damage,126 resulted in injuries to persons.
Resolutions from the UN Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly have affirmed that Israeli settlements within the occupied Palestinian territories are “illegitimate, illegal, and a war crime.”