Human rights group Amnesty International has called on the UK to ban all imports of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements to help end multimillion-pound profits which have fuelled mass human rights violations.
To mark the 50th year of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, the group is launching a new campaign calling on all countries to prohibit settlement goods from their markets and clampdown on national companies operating in the illegal structures.
“The UK should do the legally and morally right thing and introduce a ban on the import and sale of all goods produced in the Israeli settlements,” Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International’s United Kingdom Section,” said.
“For decades, Britain and the rest of the world has shamefully stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit.”
Hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of goods are produced and exported each year from Israeli settlements, despite the near-unanimous international consensus that settlements are illegal under international law.
In Britain, imported settlement produce includes oranges, dates, spring water, and halva deserts.
“The Israeli settlements are illegal – by extension, all settlement goods are tainted by illegality. The UK should no longer be party to this,” Amnesty’s Kate Allen said.
Over past decades, multiple UN resolutions have confirmed that Israeli settlements violate international law, including the most recent passed in December 2016.
Despite this, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accelerated the expansion of settlements in recent months, announcing plans for thousands of homes and the construction of the first new settlement since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Palestinians bear a high cost for the construction of settlements, with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced, Amnesty says.
At least 100,000 hectares of Palestinian land has been appropriated for the exclusive use of settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Successive Israeli governments have invested billions of dollars over the past 50 years on settlements in the occupied West Bank, making any withdrawal from the Palestinian territory a costly proposition.
More than 600,000 settlers live among 2.9 million Palestinians in the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.
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