UN panel says Israel is breaching international law in Palestine

Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan condemns report, saying it places responsibility on his country for every aspect of the conflict

Navi Pillay, chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry. EPA
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Israel is breaching international law by making its control over the West Bank permanent, a UN commission said on Thursday.

In a 28-page report by the UN's Commission of Inquiry, the three-person panel also criticised Israel for annexing land claimed by the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Syrian land in the Golan Heights.

The commission, which was set up after last year’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, also appealed to the International Court of Justice to offer its opinion on the matter and called on the UN Security Council to end Israel’s “permanent occupation".

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, condemned the report, saying it placed responsibility on Israel for every aspect of the conflict.

"The report, just like the commission that wrote it and the Council that appointed it, is illegitimate," Mr Erdan said.

He said maybe that the UN could "learn from Adidas when it comes to hiring blatant anti-Semites".

Mr Erdan was referring to the shoe giant dropping Kanye West products after his recent anti-Semitic comments.

Navi Pillay, who chairs the Commission of Inquiry, said no one on the panel was anti-Semitic.

"I am 81 years old and this my first accusation," said Ms Pillay, a South African legal expert who served as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

She said the panel found that Israel has refused to co-operate with the commission and has not granted it entry into Israel or access to Palestinian-controlled areas in the West Bank and Gaza.

"It is our sincere hope that the international community gives us the urgent attention it needs," Ms Pillay said later.

"If Israel's continuing occupation is left unaddressed by the international community, we fear that the conflict will continue interminably."

She expressed her disappointment with the US mission at the UN for not responding to requests for a meeting.

"They might be afraid of this mandate," Ms Pillay said.

The commission was established during a special session of the council in May 2021, after fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council gave the body the task of investigating “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

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Updated: October 27, 2022, 9:08 PM