UN Voices Concern on Israel Settlements

A new UN report on humanitarian affairs says illegal Israeli settlements in the heart of Palestinian residential areas risk undermining the Palestinian presence in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The report, titled “Positions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem,” suggests that “Israeli measures and policies are prioritizing the settler population of Jerusalem at the expense of the Palestinian population,” a Press TV correspondent reported Monday.

Addressing reporters at the UN headquarters on Monday, the author of the report Ray Dolphin detailed the humanitarian impact of Israeli policies on the estimated 270,000 Palestinian residents of East al-Quds.

According to the report, 35 percent of the land has been confiscated for the construction or expansion of Israeli settlements while a mere 13 percent has been zoned for Palestinian residential use.

A vast array of humanitarian concerns facing Palestinians in East al-Quds, including their lack of access to medical care and education, has also been outlined in the report.

The report also makes numerous recommendations, including the halting of settlement building and the prioritizing of housing and zoning for Palestinians, recommendations that have often been made over the years but fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, the last popular effort by the UN Security Council (UNSC) to condemn settlement building in occupied areas was struck down by a US veto just three months ago.

Dolphin reiterated that Palestinians faced problems in registration of their children in East al-Quds. He said almost 10,000 Palestinian children are not registered in the area.

It is a common US practice to veto any UNSC resolution that gets passed against the Israeli regime.

The author of the report acknowledges that the problems plaguing Palestinians are well established and that only a true political solution would bring any real change.

He did say that the report establishes for the first time that it is the official policy of the Israeli regime that creates the existing humanitarian problems for the Palestinians.

Palestinian authorities continue to work toward achieving a successful vote on statehood in the UN General Assembly later this year.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East al-Quds during the Six Day War in 1967, settling nearly 500,000 Jews, mostly from Europe, in more than 100 settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel refused to prolong a 10-month ban on settlement construction in late September 2010, stalling US-sponsored talks with the Palestinian Authority, which started earlier that month in Washington.

The Palestinians say that the settlement activities are being carried out to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

(Press TV)

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