A UN committee on Palestinians affairs in the occupied territories has expressed its concern that the Israeli government is continuing to ignore international calls to halt its illegal settlement practices. The Israeli government has approved 500 new housing units in the north of the occupied West Bank.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the United Nations Committee for Humanitarian Affairs considered the Israelis' decision to build the new housing units in the settlement of Shilo near Nablus and its proposed repairs for 200 additional units which were built without permits. This is seen as one of the largest settlement schemes to have been proposed by Tel Aviv to-date.
The UN statement noted that Israel continues to ignore the international community's calls to halt its illegal settlement activities, which undermine prospects for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the two-state solution. "The settlements are illegal under international law," it said, "and hamper efforts to find peace in the region."
The new settlement plan "comes at a time when the occupation authorities are accelerating the pace of the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem under the pretext that they were built without permits," the UN committee observed. "This represents a new violation on Israel's part with regard to its obligations as an occupying power concerned with the protection of the civilian population under its control, in addition to the violation of the right of property, adequate housing and livelihood of Palestinian families that are affected by such illegal policies."