West Bank: UN rights expert urges the Security Council to stop illegal settlements
GENEVA (3 February 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk has called on the United Nations Security
Council and the General Assembly to explore effective diplomatic and political measures to ensure Israeli compliance
with Security Council resolution 2334, which affirms that all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory
constitute a flagrant violation of international law.
“The settlement announcements by the Israeli government, only a month after the clear direction of the international
community, are a defiant and troubling repudiation of resolution 2334,” the independent expert mandated by the UN Human
Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since
“If Israel understands that the international community will take no meaningful steps to enforce the Council’s
resolution, it will continue to intensify its settlement project undeterred,” the Rapporteur warned.
“And if the international community intends to preserve what remains of a viable two-state solution, it must not assume
that resolutions, critical statements and international conferences alone will change state behaviour in these
circumstances,” he underscored.
The human rights expert’s appeal comes as the Israeli Government approves the construction of over 6,000 new settlement
homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and as the Israeli Knesset moves closer to adopting the ‘Settlement
Regularization Bill’, which will legalize the homes of more than 4,000 settlers in dozens of illegal outposts built on
private Palestinian lands throughout the West Bank.
These outposts, while built without formal authorization under Israeli law, have enjoyed the political and material
support of successive Israeli governments, Mr. Lynk observed.
“The Security Council resolution was very clear,” he said. “It called on Israel to ‘immediately and completely cease all
settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of
its legal obligations in this regard.”
“Continued settlement activity poses a grave threat to Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” the Special
Rapporteur noted. “The settlements, which divide up the West Bank and create barriers and obstacles to the movement of
Palestinians in their own territory, also undermine the right of Palestinians to work, healthcare, education, and family
Mr. Lynk recalled that settlements, illegal under international law, constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of
the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
“The policies and practices of the Israeli authorities that suggest an advance towards de facto annexation of parts of
the West Bank are increasingly alarming,” the expert said. He noted that, in recent months, senior Israeli political
leaders have made explicit statements openly supporting annexation, as in the case of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement (near
Jerusalem) and other settlement blocs within Area C in the West Bank.
“Annexation of occupied land likewise is a grave breach of international law,” the Special Rapporteur stated. “Security
Council Resolution 2334 reaffirmed the long-standing legal principle that the acquisition of territory by force is
inadmissible,” he recalled.