Publish date30 Jun 2020 - 12:43
Story Code : 467689

UN rights agency slams annexation plan, calls on Tel Aviv to halt project

The United Nations Human rights chief has warned of the repercussions to follow Tel Aviv illegal plans for annexing parts of the Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank calling on Israel to halt its plans.
UN rights agency slams annexation plan, calls on Tel Aviv to halt project
“Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank, or five percent,” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Monday, adding that Israel needed to “listen to its own former senior officials and generals, as well as to the multitude of voices around the world, warning it not to proceed along this dangerous path.”

She called on the Tel Aviv regime to shift course, warning that “the shockwaves of annexation will last for decades, and will be extremely damaging to Israel, as well as to the Palestinians.”

“The precise consequences of annexation cannot be predicted. But they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region,” Bachelet pointed out.

The UN rights chief also warned that “any attempt to annex any part of the occupied Palestinian territory will not only seriously damage efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region, it is likely to entrench, perpetuate and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades.”

Bachelet then cautioned that annexation would almost certainly lead to increased restrictions on Palestinians' right to freedom of movement, as their population centers would become enclaves.

In addition, significant tracts of private land would likely be illegally expropriated, and even in cases where this does not occur, many Palestinians could lose access to cultivate their own land, while Palestinians who found themselves living inside the annexed areas would likely experience greater difficulty accessing essential services like healthcare and education, she further said, warning humanitarian access could also be blocked.

The UN human rights chief warned that Palestinians inside the annexed area would come under heavy pressure to move out, pointing out that entire communities currently not recognized under Israeli planning would be at high risk of "forcible transfer," and settlements would almost certainly expand.

“This is a highly combustible mix. I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life, as walls are erected, security forces deployed and the two populations brought into closer proximity,” Bachelet said.

Bachelet said illegal annexation would not change Israel's obligations under international law as an occupying power towards the occupied population.

Bachelet said illegal annexation would not change Israel's obligations under international law as an occupying power towards the occupied population.


“Instead, it will grievously harm the prospect of a [so-called] two-state solution, undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations, and perpetuate the serious existing human rights and international humanitarian law violations we witness today,” she underlined.

Separately, massive demonstrations were held in a number of French cities against Israel’s plan to annex more Palestinian land.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in the capital, Paris, as well as the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg, Saint-Étienne, Montpellier and Marseille on Saturday, and voiced their strong opposition to the Israeli decision.

The protesters waved Palestine flags and raised banners that read “Free Palestine”, “Boycott Israel”, and “No to Annexation.”

They also called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel to force it to reverse its decision.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending “sovereignty” over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

In response to Israel’s decision, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.
 
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