“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 [Al-Quds], suggests that a concrete effort may be under way to annex the entire occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law,” the experts said on Wednesday.
“Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders, who peacefully bring public attention to these violations, keep being slandered, criminalized or labeled as terrorists,” the experts said, according to the office of the UN high commissionaire for human rights.
The experts pointed to the Israeli far-right cabinet’s decision in February to effectively appoint finance minister Bezalel Smotrich as the de facto governor of the West Bank, saying this move has “solidified Israel’s annexation of occupied territory.”
“Israel has persistently pursued annexation in many parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. 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,” they said.
‘Israeli apartheid being consolidated’
While the Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territory enjoy civil and political rights, Palestinians are subject to military rule.
“The consolidation of an apartheid regime is an unavoidable consequence of such a system,” the experts added.
The experts drew a comparison between the situation in Ukraine and Palestine, saying countries have imposed sanctions on Russia over what is seen as the annexation of Ukraine’s eastern parts, but Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands has not drawn the same response.
“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.
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