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Amnesty accuses Israel of violating international law with settlements and Gaza siege

February 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

The latest annual report from Amnesty International criticises Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially with regard to the ongoing siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and settlement activity in the West Bank. The report, published on Wednesday, accuses Israel of continuing its violations against the Palestinians in a way which breaches humanitarian law.

“Israel is violating the Palestinians’ human rights in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” claims Amnesty. “It forces Palestinians to leave their homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” it continues, condemning such moves as well as Israel’s demolition of so-called “unrecognised villages” in the Negev, and homes belonging to the Bedouin community.

Amnesty’s report is especially critical of Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, saying that “thousands of Israeli settlers are now residing in illegal settlements that were built on occupied Palestinian land, who receive full support in order to conduct expansion operations at the expense of the Palestinian land”.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza has, accuses Amnesty, “led to the strangulation of the local economy and resulted in extending the existing humanitarian crisis.” Children and the elderly are among the segments of Palestinian society most affected by Israeli policies, says Amnesty. Not even the special medical care that they need is available now in the Gaza Strip. “The siege is a violation of international law and forms a type of collective punishment that is experienced by 1.6 million Palestinians.”