The Guardian reports: Israel must withdraw all settlers from the West Bank or potentially face a case at the international criminal court (ICC) for serious violations of international law, says a report by a United Nations agency that was immediately dismissed in Jerusalem as “counterproductive and unfortunate”.
All settlement activity in occupied territory must cease “without preconditions” and Israel “must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers”, said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Israel, it said, was in violation of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, which forbids the transfer of civilian populations to occupied territory.
The settlements were “leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” it said.
The UNHRC report broadly restated international consensus on the illegality of Israeli settlements. But its conclusions are likely to bolster the Palestinians following their admission last November to the UN as a non-member state, which potentially gives them recourse to the ICC. [Continue reading…]