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U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Israel to abandon its plans of annexing illegally occupied Palestinian land.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called Monday on Israel to call off its plans of annexing large areas of illegally occupied Palestinian land, warning against the "disastrous" effect such a move could have on Palestinians and the region.
“Annexation is illegal. Period,” Bachelet said in a statement.
“Any annexation. Whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank, or 5 percent. I urge Israel to listen to its own former senior officials and generals, as well as to the multitude of voices around the world, warning it not to proceed along this dangerous path.”
“The precise consequences of annexation cannot be predicted,” Bachelet said. “But they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has called on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans, and I back that call one hundred percent.”
The UN rights chief said that annexing Palestinian territories will ruin efforts to bring peace in the region.
"It is likely to entrench, perpetuate, and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades," she noted.
"Palestinians living within the annexed zone would experience greater difficulty accessing essential services like education and health, and humanitarian access may also be hindered," she added, as Palestinian population centers would become enclaves further restricting the right of freedom of movement of those living there.
"Settlements – already a clear violation of international law – will almost certainly expand, increasing the existing friction between the two communities," said Bachelet.
"I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life, as walls are erected, security forces deployed and the two populations brought into closer proximity."
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting Wednesday, as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by United States President Donald Trump.
The plan consents to Israel’s annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley.
It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation, illegal.