Geneva Convention members rap Israel over settlement policy

Geneva Convention members rap Israel over settlement policy

Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:50PM GMT

Members of a Geneva Convention have lashed out at Tel Aviv for settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

During a one-day conference in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday, the majority of the members of the Fourth Geneva Convention criticized Israel for pushing ahead with its settlement expansion plans, saying Tel Aviv’s settlement policy is a blatant violation of its obligations as an occupying regime.

The member states also demanded that comprehensive investigations be launched into the crimes committed in the Palestinian occupied territories.

The members “emphasize that all serious violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated and that all those responsible should be brought to justice,” read a declaration adopted by 126 of the 196 signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Fourth Geneva Convention, originally called the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, addresses the humanitarian protections for civilians who live in a war zone.

Israel, the US, Australia, and Canada boycotted the Geneva conference.

The Israeli prime minister denounced the conference as an example of “European hypocrisy.”

“Today we witnessed staggering examples of European hypocrisy,” said Benjamin Netanyahu, while hailing the “friendship of the people of the United States.”

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were occupied by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

In November, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini slammed Israel for its settlement expansion plans on Palestinian territories.

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