|UN hears of Israel’s rampant Palestinian land grab
Israel must immediately begin withdrawing its settlers from the Palestinian territories, a UN expert told diplomats, even as the new Israeli government appeared set to strengthen the hand of the Jewish settler lobby.
Israel must “immediately and without preconditions cease the settlement activity and to initiate a process of withdrawal from the settlements,’’ Christine Chanet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, lamenting a “rampant annexation’’ of Palestinian territories, AFP reports.
Chanet. of France, was presenting a report of a fact-finding mission commissioned by the council that deemed that the settlements were leading to Palestinians' human rights “being violated consistently and on a daily basis.’’
The report, published at the end of January, sparked angry reactions from Israel, which at the time slammed it and the Human Rights Council that commissioned it as “one-sided and biased.’’
Israel was not represented at the Geneva forum.
Israel's new ruling coalition, which is to be sworn today, is meanwhile expected to strengthen rather than weaken the power of the settlers.
Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khrashi harshly criticised recent comments from Israeli politicians in support of the settlements and condemned Tel Aviv for not taking part in the Human Rights Council meeting.