GENEVA (Dispatches) – The United Nations top human rights official Michelle Bachelet has called on the Zionist regime to halt its ‘illegal’ plans to annex part of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank and warned it could lead to deadly clashes.
Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend the occupying regime’s so-called ‘sovereignty’ over the illegal settlements in the territory has drawn condemnation from the Palestinians, U.S. Arab allies and other foreign governments. His cabinet is due to begin formal annexation deliberations on Wednesday, July 1.
"Annexation is illegal. Period,” Bachelet said in a statement. "I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life.”
She called on the Zionist regime to shift course, warning that "the shockwaves of annexation will last for decades, and will be extremely damaging to Israel, as well as to the Palestinians.”
"The precise consequences of annexation cannot be predicted. But they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region,” Bachelet pointed out.
The UN rights chief also warned that "any attempt to annex any part of the occupied Palestinian territory will not only seriously damage efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region, it is likely to entrench, perpetuate and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades.”
Bachelet then cautioned that annexation would almost certainly lead to increased restrictions on Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement, as their population centers would become enclaves.
In addition, significant tracts of private land would likely be illegally expropriated, and even in cases where this does not occur, many Palestinians could lose access to cultivate their own land, while Palestinians who found themselves living inside the annexed areas would likely experience greater difficulty accessing essential services like healthcare and education, she further said, warning humanitarian access could also be blocked.
The UN human rights chief warned that Palestinians inside the annexed area would come under heavy pressure to move out, pointing out that entire communities currently not recognized under the regime’s planning would be at high risk of "forcible transfer,” and settlements would almost certainly expand.
Bachelet said illegal annexation would not change the regime’s obligations under international law as an occupying power towards the occupied population.
"Instead, it will grievously harm the prospect of a [so-called] two-state solution, undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations, and perpetuate the serious existing human rights and international humanitarian law violations we witness today,” she underlined.