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‘Israel’s formal annexation of West Bank imminent’

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A United Nations expert says Israel has taken measures in violation of international law that would allow it to formally annex the West Bank.

“After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of the large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank,” UN legal expert Michael Lynk said.

He made the remarks ahead of Monday’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This would amount to a profound violation of international law, and the impact of ongoing settlement expansion on human rights must not be ignored,” Lynk added.

Lynk, who is the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, also expressed alarm about the deterioration of human rights in the Israeli occupied territories.

He traveled to Jordan’s capital, Amman, last week to collect information for a report he plans to present to the UN General Assembly 73rd session in October. He worked out of Amman because Israel denied him entry into the West Bank.

“This is my third mission to the region since I assumed the mandate in May 2016, and the reports I received this week have painted the bleakest picture yet of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” he said, referring to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank, night raids and the lack of building permits.

He also said the situation of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar attests to Israel's policy of forced relocation.

“Its residents are living in a coercive environment that may lead to forcible transfer, not knowing where they may find themselves in the coming months and not knowing if they will be living in a place where they are able to continue their traditional way of life,” he said.


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