Amnesty International called on the international community to take decisive action against Israel's proposed annexation of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Saleh Hijazi, deputy director of the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, said that international law is very clear in this regard: "Annexation is illegal."
He added, according to Amnesty's statement, that "Israel's policy shows a flagrant disregard for international law. These policies do not change the legal status of the land under international law and the situation of its residents under occupation, and do not deny Israel's responsibilities as an occupying authority. Instead, it refers to the law of the jungle, which should have no place in our world today."
Amnesty called on members of the international community to act to enforce international law and reaffirm that the annexation of any area of the occupied West Bank is illegitimate. They must also work for an immediate suspension of the construction or enlargement of illegal Israeli settlements and related infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian territories; that is a first step towards the expulsion of Israeli civilians who live illegally in these settlements.
Amnesty International clarified that Israel's policy of relocating its civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories and displacing the local population is a breach of fundamental principles of international humanitarian law under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set 1 July as the date to start annexation of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley, this however was postponed as no agreement could be made on the move with US officials.
Palestinians believe Israel's plan will see the occupation state illegally seize 30 per cent of the West Bank. They have said they are no longer bound by treaties agreed with Israel if annexation goes ahead.