An independent UN human rights expert warned Friday that the new Israeli coalition government’s plan to proceed with annexing significant parts of the occupied West Bank, will be a blow to the international order and undermine prospects for a negotiated settlement.
“Israel’s decision to unilaterally march ahead with the planned annexation on July 1 undermines human rights in the region, and would be a severe body blow to the rules-based international order,” said Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.
Lynk expressed alarm that Israel’s annexation plans are being supported and facilitated by the United States.
If the annexation plans proceed, what would be left of the West Bank would become a “Palestinian Bantustan”, an archipelago of disconnected islands of territory, surrounded and divided up by Israel with no connection to the outside world, the special rapporteur said.
The plan includes the Jordan Valley and, if brought to fruition, would lead to “a cascade of bad human rights consequences”.
Going ahead with it would also further undermine any remaining prospect for a just and negotiated settlement, he said.
“The plan would crystalize a 21st-century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Legally, morally, politically, this is entirely unacceptable.”
Human rights violations arising from Israeli occupation would only intensify after the annexation, Lynk said.
“Already, we are witnessing forced evictions and displacement, land confiscation and alienation, settler violence, the appropriation of natural resources, and the imposition of a two-tiered system of unequal political, social, and economic rights based on ethnicity.”
The UN expert said that annexation had been strictly prohibited under international law since the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945.
He said that drawing from the bitter lessons of two world wars fought within a generation, the international community outlawed annexation because it generates conflict, vast human suffering, political instability, economic ruin, and systemic discrimination.
Since 1967, the UN Security Council has affirmed the principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory” by force or war on numerous occasions with specific reference to Israel’s occupation.
“On many fronts, the US was a positive force in the post-war years for the creation of our modern system of international law.
“It understood that a strong network of rights and responsibilities was the best path to global peace and prosperity. Now, it is actively endorsing and participating in a flagrant violation of international law. Its legal duty is to isolate perpetrators of human rights violations, not abet them.”
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