Palestinians warn Israel must be held accountable over settlements

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) In a letter to the United Nations, the Palestinians accused Israel of planning to commit further “war crimes” by expanding Jewish settlements after the Palestinians won de facto UN recognition of statehood and warned that Israel must be held accountable for its actions.

The letter was directed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council. According to the Palestinians, Israel was behaving “in a rogue, hostile and arrogant manner, contravening all principles and rules of international law and reacting with contempt to the will of the international community”.

After Palestine’s new status in the world society on Thursday, Israel announced on Friday plans about 3,000 new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“A clear message must be sent to Israel that all of its illegal policies must be ceased or that it will be held accountable and will have to bear the consequences if its violations and obstruction of peace efforts,” Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour wrote in the letter dated Monday.

With the new status as a non-member state, Palestine now has access to the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and other major human rights violations. Prior to the UN vote, some Western nations unsuccessfully pushed for a Palestinian pledge not to pursue Israel in the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinians have announced that they are in no rush to sign up to the International Criminal Court, however they have warned that seeking action against Israel in the court will remain an option if Israel continues their plans about illegal settlements.

Source: Ma’an News Agency