UNHRC approves settlements report

Report calls for boycott of W. Bank settlement products, says Israel could be liable to face prosecution by ICC.

Efrat settlement 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )
Efrat settlement 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )
A report that calls for boycotting West Bank settlement products and states that Israel could be brought before the International Criminal Court for Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines was approved Friday by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Only the United States voted against the report, which was penned by a three-member fact-finding mission.
Speaking before the vote the US said that it was troubled by the council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.
Although the status quo is not sustainable and the US is committed to resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict, it does not believe that reports such as the one completed by the fact-finding mission can help achieve that objective, the US said.
Israel cut its ties with the council when it formed the fact-finding mission last year.
The report stated that Israel had an obligation under international law not to transfer its population into the Palestinian territories, as it had done by constructing West Bank settlements.
“The Rome Statute establishes the ICC’s jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory,” the report stated.
The report explained that settlements violate international human rights laws and International Humanitarian Law.
Private companies that do business with the settlements also bear responsibility not to violate those laws, the report said. It asked them to take “all necessary steps” to ensure that they were respecting human rights, “including by terminating their business interests in the settlements.”
The council also passed another five resolutions against Israeli actions over the pre-1967 lines. These resolutions were filed under Agenda Item 7, which mandates that the council debate Israeli actions in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The United States, which alongside Israel opposes Agenda Item 7, voted against all the resolutions.
Other resolutions dealt with Israel’s military incursion into Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, Israeli settlement building and Palestinian human rights including the right to self-determination. All the resolutions had near unanimous support in the council.
The resolution that members appeared to take issue with was one that called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. It passed by 29 votes, but there were 17 abstentions.
Although the council dealt with human rights issues in Syria, Iran and Myanmar, it adopted more resolutions against Israel than any of those specified countries.