HRW urges US to financially penalise Israel over settlements

Rights group called on US to penalise Israel by withholding from its massive annual aid a sum equal to the amount the Jewish state gives in subsidies to West Bank settlements.

HRW urges US to financially penalise Israel over settlements

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank lack basic amenities and are effectively being forcibly displaced by discriminatory Israeli policies, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Sunday.

The New York-based rights group called on the United States to penalise Israel by withholding from its massive annual aid a sum equal to the amount the Jewish state gives in subsidies to West Bank settlements.

The 166-page report says Israel deprives the Palestinians of services that are offered to Jewish settlers, who live in communities considered illegal under international law because they are built on occupied land.

"Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads," HRW representative Carroll Bogert said.

"While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp -- not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes."

The group called on the international community to avoid complicity in Israeli breaches of international law, including by cutting assistance to the country.

"The United States, which provides 2.75 billion dollars in aid to Israel annually, should suspend financing to Israel in an amount equivalent to the costs of Israel's spending in support of settlements, which a 2003 study estimated at 1.4 billion dollars," the report said.

"Similarly, based on numerous reports that US tax-exempt organisations provide substantial contributions to support settlements, the report urges the US to verify that such tax-exemptions are consistent with US obligations to ensure respect for international law," it added.

Around 500,000 Israelis live in more than 130 locations across the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Agencies

Last Mod: 19 Aralık 2010, 18:23
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