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?"
Saudi Arabia beheaded 26 people in August, more than in the first seven months of the year combined.
Israel usually prevents Palestinians in Area C – established in line with the Oslo Accords - from building homes in the area under the pretext that the land is Israeli territory.
In Syria, the U.S. strikes hit a "stray" resupply vehicle from the U.S. airdrop of supplies earlier on Monday intended for Kurdish forces battling the militant group in Kobani
Greek Cypriot authorities said the Turkish vessel Barbaros, which collects seismic data, entered their exclusive economic zone
The judges are accused of supporting a "certain political group" by signing onto a July 24, 2013 statement that was read out aloud during a sit-in staged by pro-Morsi demonstrators
Israeli guards quietly occupied two purchased residential buildings in a Palestinian district of East Jerusalem, expanding a Jewish settler project in defiance of U.S. crisitism.
Funeral of party figure who died in exile turns into anti-coup protest when mourners cheer on overthrown PM Yingluck
The House of Representatives, Libya's elected parliament which has relocated to Tobruk in the far east, has endorsed Haftar's Operation Dignity, giving him an official role
Russian FM says only UN Security Council has right to form coalition against ISIL
Tens of thousands take to street to welcome 'Jokowi' as congratulatory banners seemed to occupy every available public space across the country’s thousands of islands
"Nigeria is now free of Ebola," WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja.
Enas Khalil succumbed to injuries she sustained when she and a friend were hit by a settler's car as they walked home from kindergarten
Around 1.2 million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon since civil war erupted in their country more than three years ago, according to the UNHCR
The 20-year-old, who did not named, left Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital following one week of treatment.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told British Prime Minister David Cameron he risked upsetting allies and losing international clout if he pursued an anti-immigration agenda designed to please domestic voters
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president Riek Machar are expected at the official launching of the talks