RNA - The UN has released a strong-worded report on Tuesday rebuking Israeli regime for the "de-development" and "deteriorating humanitarian conditions" of the Palestinian territories of East al-Quds (Jerusalem), the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the longest occupation in recent history. For the Palestinian people, these were five decades of de-development, suppressed human potential and denial of the basic human right to development, with no end in sight," The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty there.
Some two million Palestinians in the Gaza strip get only three or four hours of electricity a day amid a crippling Israeli blockade.
The power scarcity has, in turn, taken its toll on the water supply routine and the health system in the coastal sliver.
"Instead of the hoped-for two-State solution envisaged by the United Nations and the international community, occupation is currently even more entrenched, while its complex socioeconomic toll has worsened over time,” UNCTAD's report added.
The report also depicted “continuing loss of land and natural resources to settlements and the annexation of land in the West Bank," as the main causes for the economic depression in the occupied territories.
“Instead of the hoped-for two-State solution envisaged by the United Nations and the international community, occupation is currently even more entrenched, while its complex socio economic toll has worsened over time,” the red.
Recalling the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, UNCTAD reminded Tel Aviv that the settlements have “no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law.”
This year, Israel “intensified the expansion of settlements and housing units in the occupied West Bank,” the report noted. “Further plans have been announced to build more than 5,000 new housing units and for the retroactive legalization of 4,000 units in settlements and outposts.”
The report also revealed that in 2016, housing construction in the settlements was 40 per cent higher than in 2015, directly impacting on the demographics in the region.
“In recent years, the settler population growth rate has not only surpassed the rate in Israel but also the growth rate of the Palestinian population,” the report said. It added that the settler population has “more than doubled” since 1995, and currently stands at between 600,000 and 750,000 people.
In addition to pointing out the construction of more illegal settlements, the report also expressed concern over the demolition of Palestinian homes.
“In 2016, more Palestinian structures were demolished in the West Bank than in any other year,” the report stated. Israel demolished or seized 1,094 Palestinian structures resulting in the displacement of over 1,600 Palestinians, half of whom were children, the document said.
Palestinians in the West Bank remain subject to “many forms of violence by settlers,” who in turn are offered preferential treatment, the UN report said.
“There are two parallel legal systems in the occupied West Bank, namely the domestic law of Israel with more guarantees for defendants is applied to Israeli settlers, while Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law. Restrictions on the freedom of movement and access of Palestinians continue to be stringent near settlements,” UNCTAD said.