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Israel settlement expansion ‘tramples’ on human rights law

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Israel’s plan to build thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has drawn strong condemnation from two independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. 

Settlement expansion “tramples” on human rights law, Special Rapporteurs Michael Lynk and Balakrishnan Rajagopal said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Solidifying a permanent presence 

Nearly 700,000 Israeli settlers are now living in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, they stated. 

In recent weeks, Israeli authorities have approved plans for more than 1,700 new housing units in two settlements in East Jerusalem, Givat Hamatos and Pisgat Zeev, the experts reported.  Developments are underway for an estimated 9,000 more in Atarot, and another 3,400 in an area just east of Jerusalem. 

In the West Bank, plans to construct some 3,000 housing units are also being advanced, while reports indicate the Israeli government wants to retroactively legalize several settlement outputs. 

“The very raison d’être of the Israeli settlements in occupied territory – the creation of demographic facts on the ground to solidify a permanent presence, a consolidation of alien political control and an unlawful claim of sovereignty – tramples upon the fundamental precepts of humanitarian and human rights law,” said the experts. 

‘The engine of occupation’ 

The Special Rapporteurs characterized Israeli settlements as “the engine of the occupation”, and responsible for a wide range of human rights violations against the Palestinian people. 

These include land confiscation, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, and racial and ethnic discrimination. 

“Most seriously, the purpose of settler implantation – rupturing the relationship between a native people and its territory – is the denial of the right to self-determination, which is at the very core of modern human rights law,” they said. 

The UN has repeatedly stated Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are a flagrant violation under international law, the rights experts recalled. 

“As well, the Israeli settlements are a presumptive war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and should be treated as such by the international community,” they added. 

Action from governments 

The rapporteurs have welcomed criticism of the expansion plans, including by the United States and the European Union, though stressing “criticism without consequences means little in these circumstances.” 

The rights experts urged the international community to support the ongoing investigation into Israeli settlements by the Prosecutor’s Office at the International Criminal Court. 

They also called on governments to ensure that corporations and institutions under their jurisdiction “have no involvement in aiding, assisting or investing in the settlements.”  

Role of UN rapporteurs 

Mr. Lynk is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and Mr. Rajagopal is Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.  They received their mandates from the UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva. 

As independent experts, they operate in their own capacity and are neither UN staff, nor are they paid by the Organization. 

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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