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UN envoy: Israel must be held to account for its occupation

December 25, 2021 at 9:16 am

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Michael Lynk delivers a video message on May 18, 2018 in Geneva [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, said on Thursday that the international community must hold Israel accountable for its occupation of Palestine.

His remarks came in a statement he issued to mark the fifth year since the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an end to all settlement activities in the Palestinian territories.

“On the fifth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 2334 by the United Nations Security Council, the international community has to take its own words and its own laws seriously,” he said.

He added: “Without decisive international intervention to impose accountability upon an unaccountable occupation, there is no hope that the Palestinian right to self-determination and an end to the conflict will be realised anytime in the foreseeable future.”

Lynk pointed out that the UN Resolution 2334 states that Israeli settlements constitute “a flagrant violation under international law,” and that all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, “must immediately and completely cease.”

“If this resolution had been actually enforced by the international community, and obeyed by Israel, we would most likely be on the verge of a just and lasting peace,” the Special Rapporteur said.

However, he said: “Israel is in defiance of the resolution, its occupation is more entrenched than ever, the violence it employs against the Palestinians to sustain the occupation is rising and the international community has no strategy to end the world’s longest military occupation.”

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The Special Rapporteur noted that “in the 20 reports delivered to the Security Council since the Resolution was adopted, the Secretary-General or his representative have stated on each occasion that Israel has not complied with any of the directions of the Security Council.”

Then, he wondered: “Is it not clear by now that the Israeli political leadership has no interest and no incentive, to end the occupation?”

He stated that “one statistic above all illustrates the remarkable unwillingness of the international community to enforce its own directions respecting the Israeli occupation.”

According to his statement, the statistic states: “In 2016, when Resolution 2334 was adopted, there were an estimated 400,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and 218,000 in East Jerusalem. Five years later, there are 475,000 settlers in the West Bank and 230,000 in East Jerusalem, an increase of 12 percent.”

He stressed that “this dynamic reality on the ground is racing far ahead of the international community’s tepid criticism of Israel’s unlawful conduct.”

Concluding his statement, the UN official said: “Only an approach based on accountability, equality and full rights for all can create the possibility of a prosperous and shared future for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”