UN orders first-ever probe into illegal Israeli settlements

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UN orders first-ever probe into illegal Israeli settlements Pics By NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

By Manju Shukla
Date  23 March 2012
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has passed a resolution which orders the first-ever probe to explore the impact of Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories.

Of the 47-membere council, 36 voted in favor of the resolution on Thursday while 10 abstained from voting. The Untied States was the only member that voted against the measure.

The resolution called on Tel Aviv to help protect Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied territories as well as to prevent settler’s violence “including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions.”

“Steps like this do nothing to promote a just and lasting peace,” said the US envoy to the UN, adding that America is “deeply troubled by this council’s bias against Israel.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the UNHRC, saying that the Council “should be ashamed of itself” for approving such a measure.

“This Council has an automatic majority hostile to Israel and is hypocritical,” Netanyahu said.

Pakistan’s envoy to the UN, Zamir Akram, commended the resolution.

“In violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, Israel is continuing construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem," Akram said.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, described the vote as a shift in position of the world in favor for the rights of Palestinians.

Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlement units built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

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