Monday, 18 January 2021

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Israel’s deaf ear – The expanding occupation of Palestine

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6 June 2014 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern over reports that Israeli authorities have issued tenders for the construction of over 1,400 new housing units in settlements in the West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem.

“As the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions, the building of settlements on occupied territory is illegal under international law,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

In all territories occupied by Israel, settlement expansion continues at an alarming pace and scale, with new policies and procedures allowing for the confiscation of Palestinian lands and property. But as the UN human rights expert body to investigate Israeli practices affecting Palestinian people proclaim, Israel continues to turn a deaf ear to the repeated calls to comply with international law.

The expert body has also raised several other issues related to human rights violations towards the Palestinian population, amongst others the continued use of administrative detention of prisoners. More than 5,000 Palestinian detainees are currently held in Israeli custody, many of them without even knowing their accusation grounds.

In a desperate plea to be afforded a basic standard of due process, hundreds of the detainees have engaged in hunger-strikes, some of them lasting for months. At least 75 prisoners are undertaken hospital care, due to their critical health conditions.

“Concerns over the health of Palestinian prisoners extend more widely,” the expert body continues in a press release, noting that, “this year again, we have a number of testimonies indicating that medical needs of Palestinian detainees within the Israeli prison system have been neglected, in some cases leading to deaths which might have been avoided with proper care and timely diagnosis.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, is appalled by the ongoing human rights violations in Israeli prisons, and calls on the international community to ensure that Israel complies with human rights laws and norms.

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s condemnation of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. But as the wall still pierces the sky, its associated regime continues to hamper the rocky road to peace.

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