The UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories on Wednesday called for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements, as an important step towards ending Israel’s 52-year-old “illegal occupation” of the West Bank.
Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told the General Assembly’s human rights committee Wednesday that the international community should issue “a clarion call to the United Nations” to complete and release a withheld database “on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements.”
Lynk stressed that the international community has a responsibility and a legal obligation to compel Israel to completely end its occupation and remove barriers to self-determination for the Palestinians.
As for Gaza, the rights expert said the ongoing blockade land, sea, and air have severely restricted basic rights of the residents, including healthcare, education and livelihood.
“The Gaza blockade is a denial of basic human rights and amounts to collective punishment,” he said.
The “Great March of Return” and related protests have resulted in the deaths of 207 Palestinians and 33,828 have been injured, he noted.
The expert also raised concerns on the Israeli government’s annexation activities in the West Bank and settlers’ escalating violations there.
“Incidents of settler violence were recorded in a number of West Bank towns including in Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah,” he added.
Lynk said the Israeli security forces have intensified their raids into various parts of the West Bank and arrests and arbitrary detentions.
Lynk also said more than 100 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem since late April.
He said the Israeli occupation is a bitter illustration of the absence of international accountability for Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and humanitarian law.