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UN rapporteur urges Israel to stop relocating Bedouins

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Makarim Wibisono has urged Israel not to implement its plans for the forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouin communities in the West Bank.

“I am alarmed at indications that the roll-out of plans, which in their full effect are believed to entail the forced eviction and forcible transfer of thousands of people, contrary to international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” Wibisono said in a statement Friday, adding that the evictions appeared imminent.

An estimated two thirds of those who would be affected by the transfer plans are children, he noted.

“It is very troubling that the implementation of these plans may further undermine the territorial integrity of the occupied Palestinian territory,” he said.

“Israeli authorities were taking steps towards the transfer of residents of Abu Nwar, one of a substantial number of affected Palestinian Bedouin communities,” he said.

“Since his appointment in June 2014, full cooperation has been extended by the Palestinian government, but the independent expert’s requests to visit Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory have so far received no formal response by the government of Israel,” the statement said.

For decades, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank on which it continues to build Jewish-only settlements in breach of international law.

The number of Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem is estimated to be over 500,000.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

Palestinian negotiators insist that Israel’s illegal settlement construction must end before stalled peace talks – which broke down one year ago – can resume.

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