Latest statistics show that the number of Israeli settlements, established on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, has reached 503, of which 474 are located in the West Bank and 29 others in Jerusalem, says Hanna Issa, Secretary-General of the PA Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places.
Issa added, in a press statement on Monday, that the number of settlers residing in these settlements exceeds one million, indicating that “Peace Movement,” in Israel, says that settlement expansion on Palestinian lands in the West Bank is higher than population growth itself, in Israel.
He noted that the construction of the apartheid wall, which stretches from the Jordan Valley to the mountains of Hebron, with an area of more than 725 kilometres, is grabbing up around 20% of the West Bank lands originally estimated at 5,844 square kilometers.
He also pointed out, according to Al Ray, that Israeli bypass roads, established throughout the West Bank, to connect settlements, amount to 800 square kilometers.
Issa confirmed that Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories is a grave violation of international norms and conventions, particularly Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention and Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He clarified that Article 49 states that the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies, adding that Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power, of parts of its own civilian population, into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory, within or outside this territory, as war crimes.
Issa called for urgent international action to compel Israel to stop its settlement policies and its defiance of international wills, aiming at bringing peace and stability to the region.
(PNN archive image)