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?"
Fighters from the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi movement seized Sanaa on Sept. 21 after overrunning an army brigade affiliated to the moderate Islamist Islah party, making them effectively the power brokers in the country.
A spokesman for Congo's government said an investigation had been launched into the situation but health problems that people face across Congo, rather than poor management at the camp, were most likely to be the cause of the deaths.
Bernadino Leon, the U.N. special envoy to Libya, said a second step would be to seek talks with the militias that now run the desert nation.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the step would also send a "troubling message" if the Israeli government proceeded with tenders and construction.
The Army gave no reason for the decision to drop the charges against Sergeant First Class Michael Barbera.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing had "very formally and clearly stated its position: Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. All countries should respect China's sovereignty."
U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson steps down after an incident in which an Iraq war veteran with a knife scaled the White House fence, sprinted across the lawn and got deep inside the mansion before an off-duty agent stopped him.
Two blasts killed at least 45 people, including 41 children, in the Syrian city of Homs.
The Israeli authorities announced a decision early last month to confiscate 4,000 dunams of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
Transport minister Damir Hadzic described the move as a 'historic event'.
Kenyan anti-terrorism police arrested the two on suspicion of plotting an attack in Kenya as they prepared to board a flight at Nairobi aiport on Sept. 18 bound for Belgium.
Egypt-Turkey relations have nosedived since Egypt's military ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi in July of last year.
New Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani re-opened an inquiry into the theft of almost $1 billion from Kabul Bank with a decree.
Nine other people were wounded, seven of whom were taken to hospital for treatment.
Putin said Russia security services had detected a constant growth in cyber attacks, particularly in the last six months, the period in which the crisis in Ukraine has worsened.
Turkish Cypriot students attending an English school in the Greek Cypriot-controlled south Cyprus are told they cannot have time off for Eid as it is a 'Chrstian school'.