Settlements Are Illegal, Settlers Must Leave

By Rashid Shahin

Palestinians have waited for more than six decades following their Nakba, or catastrophe, in 1948, and more than four decades of occupation until the world has finally admitted that colonies or “settlements” in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not only illegal, but are also in violation of international law and constitute war crimes.

Israel is responsible for the millions of Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the world, the hundreds of thousands of prisoners and victims since Israel was founded, and is still responsible despite the fact that the world community believes that Israel is an occupying power and settlements in the Palestinian occupied land are illegal.

More than half a million Jewish settlers in more than 250 colonies must leave the settlements they have built illegally on stolen Palestinian lands since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967; this was the content of the decision or the recommendations of  the UN investigators convened in Geneva a few days ago.

The UN human rights investigators called on Israel to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all of the half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied Palestinian lands.

The decision also said that the Israeli practices could be subject to prosecution as possible war crimes.

Christine Chanet, a French Judge who led the inquiry in a press conference said “Israel must cease settlement activities and provide adequate, prompt and effective remedy to the victims of violations of human rights,”

As expected, Israeli politicians refused to accept the decision, and attacked the UN, the way they do every time Israel is condemned for its deeds.

In fact, the Israeli leaders never recognize or accept decisions made by the UN or any of its organizations; the only decision they recognized and welcomed with joy, was the decision which announced the division of Palestine, giving the Zionist terrorist gangs an entity on the Palestinian land and with it the foundation of the State of Israel.

The report’s recommendations called on the Member States to carry out their responsibilities towards the Israeli violations and irregularities of international law.

Avigdor Lieberman said “the recommendations are useless and not worth the ink they were written with” because he knows that the world’s countries  will deal with it in the same way they did with other recommendations and decisions taken throughout the years.

Settlements and settlers are part of the long-lasting problem which the Israeli occupation imposed upon the Palestinians.

Despite the position of the world’s countries and the universal condemnation of settlement building, Israel continues its policy in this regard; plans to confiscate more lands appear frequently, and the demolishing of Palestinian neighborhoods is still one of the main practices of the occupation authority.

The importance of the UN human rights recommendations came because the Israeli occupation authority continues its settlement policy; in this regard, Israel threatens to demolish al-Fhaidat neighborhood east of Anata north of Jerusalem and the village of Susiya in the south of Hebron hills, and many rural communities in the Jordan valley.

In the occupied East Jerusalem, things are worsening, on February the 4th Haaretz daily reported ‘”Two weeks ago an enforcement/punishment operation ended in Isawiya in north Jerusalem, and a week ago a new operation started in Silwan. The operations included numerous arrests, roadblocks to inspect vehicles, tax collection, house demolitions, shutting off water, various fines, searches and random checks of identification, and more”.

The time has come to eradicate this “cancer” that threatens the two-state solution, especially in light of the continuation of the policy of land confiscation and the construction and expansion of settlements exercised by the occupying authority which turns its back on the international community and ignores all human rights accusations.

– Rashid Shahin is a Palestinian writer and journalist based in Bethlehem- Palestine. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out