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U.N. to Israel: Exit West Bank settlements

  |   Jan. 31, 2013 at 9:26 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A U.N. Human Rights Council report on West Bank settlements calls on Israel to evacuate all settlements in "occupied territory."

"The Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory," the report stated.

The council warned the International Criminal Court of Justice could hold Israel culpable for its West Bank settlement activity.

A draft copy of the report, compiled by a U.N.-appointed, three-person, fact-finding mission, was released Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of debate on the matter scheduled for March 18.

Israel's Foreign Ministry rejected the report and issued a statement saying the only way "to resolve all pending issues between Israel and the Palestinians, including the settlements issue, is through direct negotiations without preconditions," The Jerusalem Post reported. "Counterproductive measures, such as the report published today, will only hamper efforts to find a sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

Israel cut its ties with the council last March when the panel announced plans to send a fact-finding mission to Israel to examine West Bank settlement activity.

Members of the mission who compiled the settlement report are Christine Chanet of France, Asma Jahangir of Pakistan and Unity Dow of Botswana, the Post said.

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