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article imageReport: Israel must remove all Jewish settlers from West Bank

article:342537:23::0
By Anne Sewell     Jan 31, 2013 in World
A report emanating from a UN human rights inquiry has called on Israel to remove all Jewish settlers from the West Bank and to immediately cease expansion.
According to the report, the settlements violate international law and are merely an attempt to drive out Palestinians through intimidation.
The report comes from an inquiry led by French judge Christine Chanet and was based on interviews with 50 Palestinians, describing land grabs, violence, and damages to livelihood, and reads, "Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions.”
The report further states that Israel must immediately begin the withdrawal of all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).
Digital Journal reported on Wednesday that Israel was boycotting the UN human rights scrutiny forum in Geneva. On top of this, Israel has not co-operated with a probe which was set up by the Human Rights Council last March to examine the impact of settlements in the territory, including East Jerusalem.
In the interviews by the UN investigators, more than 50 people traveled to Jordan in November to testify about their land being confiscated, their livelihoods damaged and violence by the Jewish settlers.
Another portion of the report reads, "The mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand."
Immediately following the decision by the UN General Assembly to upgrade Palestine to statehood, Israel stated that it would build 3,000 more settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are areas that Palestinians want for a future state, along with the Gaza Strip.
Referring to the treaty setting up the Hague-based UN tribunal, responsible for prosecuting people for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the report continued, "Ratification of the [Rome] Statute by Palestine may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims."
Besides the UN report, there has been much concern expressed by officials from the UN and European Union on Wednesday over a spate of incidents in the West Bank, where Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli fire.
Within a two week period in January, four Palestinians were killed, including a woman and two minors, in separate incidents across the West Bank.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley said in a statement that he was "seriously concerned by the increased casualties resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank."
"Eight Palestinian civilians, including three minors and one woman, have been killed since mid-November in separate incidents in the West Bank," he added.
The UN statement further said, "The Humanitarian Coordinator urges maximum restraint in order to avoid further civilian casualties."
"Using live ammunition against civilians may constitute excessive use of force and any such occurrences should be investigated in a timely, thorough, independent and impartial manner," Rawley said.
EU missions are also "deeply concerned by the number of Palestinians killed recently... in separate incidents involving recourse by Israeli forces to lethal force."
The statement continued, "We reiterate the need for security forces, whether Israeli or Palestinian, to refrain from use of lethal force, except in cases where there is a real and imminent threat to life."
At the present time, there has been no comment by the Israeli military or the Israeli foreign ministry.
article:342537:23::0
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