World Bulletin / News Desk
The United Nations named French judge Christine Chanet on Friday as the leader of a team of three experts who will investigate whether Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories violate human rights law.
International Court of Justice, the highest U.N. legal body for disputes, ruled Israel settlements are illegal on occupied territories. Israel placed about 500,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem where 2.5 million Palestinians live.
The other team members are Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir and Botswana judge Unity Dow.
The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) launched the probe in March under an initiative brought to the 47-member forum by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's ally the United States was the only member to vote against it.
The council said Israel's planned construction of new housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Israel refuses cooperation
Israel on Friday vowed to halt probe. "This fact-finding mission will find no co-operation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the Territories," a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The council's president, Uruguay's ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, announced the names of the investigators after holding consultations among member states, diplomats said.
On Monday Richard Falk, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, told a news conference that the acceleration of settlement building had "closed the book" on the feasibility of a two-state solution.
"The Palestinian position gets weaker and weaker through time and the Israelis get more and more of a fait accompli through their unlawful activities," he said.
"Is it just a delaying tactic that allows the Israelis to expand the settlements, expand the settled population, demolish more and more Palestinian homes and structures and engage in a programme that has assumed such proportions that the language of ethnic cleansing is the only way to describe the demographic changes in East Jerusalem?"
Candido Van-Dunem, who had held the post since 2010, will be replaced by Joao Lourenco, a former secretary-general of the MPLA ruling party
About 22,000 people took refuge in the U.N. base in Bentiu, the capital of the oil producing Unity State, after the killings
Pollsters say UKIP has siphoned off much of its support from disgruntled right-wing Conservative voters. But they say it is also stealing traditional Labour supporters
State media said Maher Abdel-Hafiz Hajjar - a member of the government-sanctioned opposition and formerly a member of the Communist Party- had nominated himself
A man and two children were injured when an Israeli aircraft fired on them in the city of Beit Lahia.
Moscow is "extremely surprised by the distorted interpretation (of the agreement) by the Kiev authorities and the American partners," the foreign ministry said.
A remote Sunni village of roughly 2,000 people, Tfail is surrounded on three sides by Syria, and the primary route to the rest of Lebanon goes through its neighbour.
Russia conducted military exercises in its south-eastern Rostov region, which borders Ukraine
Northern England is overall less wealthy than the country's south, which hosts England's capital and economic powerhouse London.
The move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months.
Rights groups accuse Azerbaijan of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents, charges the government denies.
Katanga's interior minister gave a provisional toll of 56 dead and 69 injured but said the toll was expected to rise
China's modernising navy has taken an increasingly assertive stance in guarding what it sees as its sovereign maritime territory in the East China and South China Seas.
Christian Arabs, who are actually Palestinians, are among the 1.6 million Arabs who refused to leave their homes despite the Israeli occupation.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye appealed to his Chinese counterpart as the North looks set to defy UN obligations.