The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has assembled a team of experts to investigate the expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.Ma’an News reported on Sunday that the fact-finding committee will begin its investigation in August and plans to release a preliminary report at the end of September. The final report will be submitted in March of 2013. This is according to a report on the Voice of Palestine radio by UNHRC Palestinian representative, Ibrahim Khreisheh.

The investigation will be led by French judge Christine Chanet. All Israeli settlements within the Occupied Palestinian Territories have previously been found to be a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that Israel would not cooperate with the fact-finding mission and will not allow UNHRC members to enter Israel or the Palestinian territories because it sees the investigation as unfairly targeting Israel.

The denial of entry of UN investigators in Iraq was seen by the United States as a justification for war with that nation. It remains to be seen if the US will apply this policy consistently to a nation it views as a friend or whether they will decide to protect a country under investigation for ongoing human rights abuses.

The Israeli position that other countries in the region are more serious offenders does not seem to be an optimal defense. Justification of oppression on the grounds that others are worse seems to be an admission of guilt.