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Israel criticized for settlement activity

Jan. 31, 2013 at 3:13 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Systematic violations of the rights of the Palestinian people are occurring daily, a report from the United Nations on Israeli settlements states.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this month expressed concern over Israeli plans to move ahead with settlement construction in the so-called E1 area.

Israeli soldiers and border police designated the area as a closed military zone and blocked an access road to keep Palestinian activists from the site.

A U.N. report on Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories published Thursday highlighted concern about the overall toll on human rights.

The report states that Israeli governments since 1967 have openly led construction activity in Palestinian territory in violation of international expectations. Unity Dow, a member of the panel from Botswana, said settlement activity has lead to widespread breaches of human rights.

"The motivation behind violence and intimidation against the Palestinians and their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands, allowing the settlements to expand," she said in a statement.

The United Nations expressed regret this week when Israel became the first country to not show up for a Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.

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