A U.N. human rights investigator accused Israel on Friday of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem and cast doubt that the Israeli government could accept a Palestinian state in the current climate.
(Reuters) Richard Falk, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told a news conference that Israeli policies bore ‘unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing’. He spoke against a backdrop of deadlocked peace talks and accelerating Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem which Palestinians say is dimming their hope of establishing a viable state on contiguous territory.
Falk said that Israel had made a systematic effort to ‘change the ethnic composition’ of East Jerusalem by making it more difficult for Palestinians to reside there while encouraging the spread of settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
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