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?"
An attack on power transmission lines in the eastern Ma'rib province has disrupted power transmission from the gas-powered Ma'rib plant to Sanaa and other Yemeni cities
The ministry warned that the Egyptian closure of the terminal will "aggravate the suffering of thousands of patients and students".
Draft resolution calls on country to abandon plans to force Rohingya Muslims to identify as 'Bengali' - term used to brand them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu said the government was working to get power running.
Municipalities in Bosnia to donate $25,000 to assist 400 Palestinian families living in darkness after Israeli attacks
Members of the Albu Nimr tribe had held out for weeks under siege by ISIL fighters in Anbar Province to the west of Baghdad, but finally ran low on ammunition, fuel and food.
"Houthi militants bombed the Al-Islah Party HQ in Ibb after clashes with security guards that left four of them dead," the official said
The government is reluctant to release figures on casualties, but more than 4,000 police and soldiers were killed fighting Taliban in 2013 and this year's toll is expected to be higher.
Nusra Front captured several villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Idlib province and it entered the village of Deir Sonbol, the stronghold of the Revolutionaries' Front
The United States is mounting a diplomatic offensive to stop Hungary selling a stake in a Croatian energy firm to Russia
China passed a counter-espionage law on Saturday aimed at tightening state security
Junta leader and PM Prayuth Chan-ocha is a dollar millionaire; while deputy-pm has $42 million in assets
To reach Burqa, one must pass through seven other Palestinian villages and cross under a highway – which Palestinians are barred from using – that leads to the Israeli settlements.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says domestic intelligence is going through reforms following its failures in preventing neo-Nazi murders between 2000 and 2007
Friday's military coup in Burkina Faso is only the latest chapter in a decades-long pattern of coups
Israeli authorities reopened Al-Aqsa on Friday following a day of violent clashes with Palestinian protesters, but barred male worshippers under 50 years old