Israel's Occupation Settlements
Wednesday, 06 August 2008

Israeli settlements in the West Bank:

. . . are not only illegal under international law but are an obstacle to the enjoyment of human rights by the whole population, without distinction as to national or ethnic origin.” (Declaration in 2007 by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - the official body that interprets obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Israel has ratified.)

  • Israel's policy of establishing, financing and expanding its settlements in occupied Palestine violates international humanitarian law. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is prohibited from transferring civilians from its own territory into occupied territory and is prohibited from creating permanent changes that are not for the benefit of the occupied population. Several United Nations Security Council resolutions have demanded that Israel remove its settlements from occupied Palestinian land.

  • Israel discriminates against the Palestinian population with occupation settlements that house only Israeli citizens and a strict permit system, enforced by the Israeli Army, prohibits Palestinians from driving on occupation 'settler-only' roads or attending 'settler-only' schools.

  • Israel claims that measures such as settler-only roads are to protect the security of the settlers. But as the occupation settlements have been established through acts of war and territorial conquest, their presence in occupied land is a gross violation of international law. Israel is bound not only by international humanitarian law governing military occupation but also by international human rights law, which imposes additional obligations on how a state treats all those under its control.

  • Israeli settlements in the West Bank:

. . . are not only illegal under international law but are an obstacle to the enjoyment of human rights by the whole population, without distinction as to national or ethnic origin.” (Declaration in 2007 by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - the official body that interprets obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Israel has ratified.)

  • Israel is guilty of violating legally binding treaties that prohibit any form of discrimination and that guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination upon any ground, such as race, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, or other status. These are obligations imposed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Israel has ratified.

  • Expanding Israeli settlements further violate the basic rights of Palestinians to freedom of movement and residence, to own property privately as well as in association with others, and to housing.

  • The maintenance and expansion of the settlements have direct and serious consequences on the welfare of Palestinian communities, restricting their freedom of movement, denying them access to essential supplies, services and land. In Hebron, Israel has removed Palestinian residents from a large part of the city centre in order to expand Israeli Jewish settlement there.

  • Non-governmental organisations such as Human Rights Watch have documented frequent crimes of violence by settlers against Palestinians living near Israeli settlements that have often gone unpunished by Israel's occupation authority. Such crimes include the destruction of olive trees, crops and other acts of agricultural sabotage, including the poisoning of water supplies.

  • The United States of America rewards Israel and its flagrant breaches of international and humanitarian law with the largest donations, by far, given by any country. In 2008 alone, US taxpayers will support Israel with a US$2.8 billion subsidy.