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Good News from the Netherlands

November 24, 2016 22:57

Occupied Palestine, 23 September 2010 - The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, warmly salutes the decision taken by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), in consultation with the Dutch Foreign Ministry, to cancel a visit by Israeli mayors due to the fact that six members of the proposed delegation are leaders of illegal Jewish-only Israeli colonial settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.1

There are now over 150 settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, housing 475,000 settlers and covering more than 40% of the West Bank. The settlements are deliberately constructed in order to place essential Palestinian agricultural and water resources in Israeli control.2 Israel's colonial settlement enterprise destroys Palestinian lives and livelihoods and results in the expropriation of Palestinian private and public land and the illegal annexation of territory to Israel. All of these are illegal under international law and prevent the achievement of just peace.

Under the IV Geneva Convention, Israel's transfer of its own civilians into the Palestinian territory it occupies constitutes a war crime. The United Nations has consistently and repeatedly affirmed that the Convention applies to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.3 Due to the fact that Israel applies its own domestic civil law to the illegal settlements whereas the occupied Palestinian population is subjected to Israel's military orders, these settlements also entrench an apartheid regime which is a crime under international law.4 The International Court of Justice in its 2004 advisory opinion, moreover, has reminded states of their obligation to ensure Israel's compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law and to not render aid or assistance in maintaining the unlawful situation created by Israel.5 The BNC therefore welcomes the decision taken by the VNG to uphold this obligation.

November 24, 2016 22:57

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