Dr. Hanna Issa, an expert in International Law, strongly denounced the recent Israeli decision to build nearly 500 units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, saying the decision is another Israeli violation of International Law, and an attempt to foil all attempts to resume direct peace talks.Issa said that Israel is challenging the International Community, and added that Tel Aviv is wasting time and the efforts of the international community to resume direct peace talks, by escalating its violations and illegal settlement activities.

He added that Israel is also violating its international obligations, including the Road Map peace plan, the recommendations of the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and continues its violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Geneva Protocols.

“On July 9 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and violate International Law”, Issa said, “The court ruled that Israel’s use of Palestinian natural resources, its violations against the Palestinians, and their lands, violate the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed in 1993, and all related agreements signed since then”.

Issa added that building and expanding settlements is not only illegal, it also violates that basic rights of the Palestinian people, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that Israel’s illegal settlement activities are depriving the Palestinians from their sources of livelihood.

“Israel must stop all of its settlement activities as a first phase before dismantling its settlements in occupied Palestine””, he said, “Settlements jeopardize the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian State, they violate all related UN resolutions”.

Issa added that the unilateral Israeli measures aim causing significant changes to the geography and demography of Jerusalem.

“UN resolutions 181, 194, 303, and all resolutions issued later on, call for placing Jerusalem under international protection”, he said, “The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits changing the demography and geography of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem”.