U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned Monday the consequences of Israel’s planned annexations in the West Bank are likely to be “disastrous” for Israel, the Palestinians and the region, and will “grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution.”
In a statement, Bachelet said, “Annexation is illegal,” and that any attempt to annex part of the occupied Palestinian territory is likely to prolong and make worse serious human rights violations that have been part of the conflict between the two sides for decades.
“I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life, as walls are erected, security forces deployed and the two populations brought into closer proximity,” she said. “The existing two-tier system of law in the same territory will become embedded, with devastating impacts on the lives of Palestinians who have little or no access to legal remedy.”
Israel's new coalition government, sworn into office in mid-May and led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, plans to annex about 30% of the West Bank, including Israeli settlements and areas populated mainly by Palestinians. The government’s plan does not have the full support of the Israeli public.
Officials had signaled the move could come as early as Wednesday, but the timing of the final approval remains unclear.
Palestinian officials have rejected Israel’s plan and faulted the United States after President Donald Trump’s administration gave Israel backing for annexation in the peace plan it released in January.
Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War and has occupied it ever since. The Palestinians want the land to be part of their future state.