A special United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session has denounced Israel for building “illegal settlements” in the occupied Palestinian territories, paving the way for a Security Council resolution against the Israeli regime.
The session, categorized as an "Arria-Formula" meeting or an informal session, was held at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday at the request of UNSC member states Angola, Malaysia, Venezuela, Senegal and Egypt, with a push from the Palestinians.
The forum was attended by some human rights groups, including Americans for Peace Now and B’Tselem, an Israeli organization that monitors human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian lands. Both groups called for an international boycott of Israel’s settlements and foreign companies that invest in them.
B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad said “invisible, bureaucratic daily violence” dominates Palestinian life “from cradle to grave,” adding, “With every breath they take, Palestinians are breathing in occupation.”
“The UN Security Council must act and the time is now,” he said in conclusion.
Lara Friedman, the director of policy and government relations for Americans for Peace Now, also criticized Israel's settlement activities, calling them “illegal growth.”
She further said that the Tel Aviv regime had illegally granted settlement expansion permits, which would “lead inevitably to permanent occupation” of the expropriated lands.
The US representative to the session, David Pressman, also said that Washington was “deeply concerned about continued settlement activity," which he described as "corrosive to peace.”
According to Americans for Peace Now, the number of Israeli settlements has grown dramatically over the past 20 years, with the construction of 11,000 new settler units authorized under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now group reported earlier this month that plans to construct 2,168 new housing units moved forward over the last Jewish year by Tel Aviv, compared to 553 ones the year before.
Britain, France and Russia have already slammed Israeli settlement construction as an obstacle to peace and the establishment of a sustainable Palestinian state. The Chinese envoy has also called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.