Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, has said the Israeli government’s recent announcement that it has approved construction of nearly 5,000 more settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territory was a grave breach of international law.
“The international community must answer this grave breach of international law with more than mere criticism,” said Lynk on Friday.
“As the Israeli settlements continue to devour the land that is meant for the independent Palestinian state, the international community observes, it sometimes objects, but it does not act,” he added. “It is high time for accountability.”
Lunk pointed out that the latest announcement means that the Israeli government has approved more than 12,150 settlements this year. According to the advocacy group Peace Now, this would be the highest number of annual approvals by Israel since Peace Now began to record the figures in 2012.
“While Israel may have shelved its plans for the de jure annexation of the settlements in August, it is continuing with its de facto annexation of the Palestinian territory through this unrelenting settlement growth,” Lynk said.
“Both de facto and de jure annexation of occupied territory are clear violations of the Charter of the United Nations and the 1998 Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court. This acceleration of settlement growth worsens an already precarious human rights situation on the ground.”