A Palestinian human rights organization has condemned in the strongest terms the latest remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in support of building new illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, calling on the international community to stop the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation policies.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in a statement, slammed the international community’s silence on Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians, including settlement expansion and apartheid measures, saying the inaction emboldens Israeli officials to continue their disregard for international law, commit more crimes and intensify the seven-decade suffering of the Palestinian nation.
“Bennett is at the top of the political and executive hierarchy for a prolonged, racist, and military occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories, speaks publicly about settlements and their continuation across the West Bank, including occupied East al-Quds, in a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This constitutes a full-fledged war crime, yet such a statement goes by without comment or due consideration,” Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, said.
He also criticized the double standard of the international community vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue, especially in comparison to the Ukraine conflict
“Europe and the West promptly acted against the Russian operation in Ukraine. We stand against any occupation and human suffering. Scenes of destruction and death in Ukraine are not different than those in Gaza. Forced displacement of civilians in Ukraine is no different than the forced displacement that has happened to Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba or Catastrophe, when Israel uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians and expelled them from their houses,” Sourani noted.
During a visit to the Israeli security service’s regional command on the outskirts of the central West Bank city of al-Bireh on Tuesday, Bennett said, “Construction is ongoing and will continue in Judea and Samaria [in the West Bank]. Freezing will not be here.”
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land. The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.
In addition to expanding its illegal settlements, Israel restricts freedom of movement for Palestinians not only in and out of Palestine but also within it. Israeli settlers, backed by the military, also routinely storm al-Aqsa mosque and provoke clashes with Palestinian worshipers.
The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.