International community must act to end Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories: UN experts

International community must act to end Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories: UN experts

Stance against Russia show 'a la carte enforcement of international law,' experts say

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

GENEVA (AA) - The international community must act to prevent Israel from annexing occupied Palestinian territory or risk being perceived as supporting that government's "systematic violation of international law," a group of UN experts said Wednesday.

"Israel’s continuous annexation of portions of the occupied Palestinian territory, now focusing on large swathes of the West Bank after unlawfully annexing east Jerusalem, suggests that a concrete effort may be under way to annex the entire occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law," the experts said in a statement.

The tragedy continues to unfold for Palestinians and Israelis, unequally trapped in the maze of unlawfulness and injustice, they said, noting that annexation or acquisition of territory by use of force or threat, is categorically prohibited under international law.

"It constitutes an act of aggression, a crime that falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and poses a threat to international peace and security. Israel has persistently pursued annexation in many parts of the occupied Palestinian territory," they said. "Over the last five decades, Israel has confiscated or endorsed confiscation of Palestinian lands and resources, resulting in over 270 colonies housing 750,000 Israeli settlers."

The experts questioned why UN member states cannot take a similar stance against Israel as they did against Russia.

"The large majority of Member States of the UN unequivocally condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its annexation of Ukraine’s eastern parts as an act of aggression," they said, noting the group imposed sanctions on Russia to encourage a cessation of the violation of international law.

"By contrast, Israel’s annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory is obfuscated by political rhetoric, debates and negotiations, which ultimately rest on double standards," they said.

The experts stressed that different stances show "a la carte enforcement of international law," and urged UN member states to utilize the range of available legal means to seek an end to the illegal acts.

"Justice must be served, and international law must be upheld without double standards to end this cycle of violence and secure a just and lasting peace for both Palestinians and Israelis," they said.​​​​​​​

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