Following the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of a resolution calling on Israel to cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York, said:
“At the close of a shameful year for the Security Council, where divisions repeatedly blocked the adoption of key resolutions to protect the most vulnerable, today’s decision to finally pass a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements is a welcome step.
“This is the first time in almost four decades that such a resolution has been passed. During this time, settlements not only continued to be built, but at an accelerated pace.
“The resolution includes a crucial demand that the Israeli authorities immediately halt all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such activities constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, constitute a war crime.
“We also welcome the resolution’s recognition of the illegality of Israeli settlements. Amnesty International has campaigned for many years on this issue. Israel’s settlement policy is inherently discriminatory and has resulted in grave human rights violations including destruction of homes, forced evictions, unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions and collective punishment.
“The Security Council must now ensure this resolution is respected. Indeed, it should go further and demand that the state of Israel not only fulfil its legal obligation to halt settlement-building, but also dismantle its settlements and relocate its settlers outside Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is the only way to a just and durable peace.”