Friday, November 21, 2008

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon summarized two reports conducted by the UN concluding that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and other territories is illegal and “a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention.” This is not the first time that the UN has condemned Israeli breach of the convention, but this comes at a crucial time when Israeli blockades of the Gaza Strip, according to Al Jazeera and Democracy Now, are endangering approximately 750,000 Gazans who rely on UN and Israeli food aid for survival.

The statement by Ban Ki-Moon was made after the reissue of two reports condemning Israeli occupation, “The advisory opinion and a number of United Nations resolutions have all affirmed that Israel’s practice of constructing settlements—in effect, the transfer by an occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies —constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” reads the first report: Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan. “In addition to the construction of the settlements, other activities related to settlements are also illegal. “These include the requisition of land, the destruction of houses and orchards, the construction of roads meant for the use of settlers only, the exploitation of natural resources within the occupied territory and the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The international community has also raised concerns regarding the depletion of natural resources as a result of settlements,” the report continues.