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Israeli settlement growth at record high – UN

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Israeli settlement growth at record high – UN

This development poses a risk to the possibility of a Palestinian state, the human rights commissioner warned

New Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank have seen record growth, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said, stressing that they risk eliminating any practical possibility of a Palestinian state.

A senior UN official on Friday commented on a report on the issue that will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva at the end of March he said that the establishment and continued expansion of settlements is tantamount to Israel moving its own civilian population into the territories it occupies, which he reiterated is a war crime under international law.

“The West Bank is already in crisis. However, settler violence and settlement-related human rights abuses have reached shocking new levels and threaten to preclude any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state.” Turk said.

Responding to the statement, Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said on Friday that the report should have included the deaths of 36 Israelis recorded in 2023 and accused the High Commissioner’s Office of ignoring the losses the country had suffered.


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The 16-page report, which is based on the UN’s own surveillance along with other sources, records 24,300 new Israeli housing units in the occupied West Bank in the year to the end of October 2023. The number is said to be the highest on record since monitoring began in 2017.

According to the document, there has been a drastic increase in the intensity, severity and regularity of both Israeli settler and state violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, especially since October 7 last year, when the Hamas militant group attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and capturing more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and launching a military operation in Gaza.

In February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was disappointed by Israel’s plan to build more than 3,300 new settlements in the occupied West Bank, adding that the potential development would be “inconsistent” with international law. The comments effectively reversed former President Donald Trump’s administration policy.

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