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15 April 2003

Original: ENGLISH

Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/7

The Commission on Human Rights,

Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter of the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,

Mindful that Israel is a party to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable de jure to Palestinian and all Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and recalling the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 5 December 2001,

Recalling its previous resolutions, most recently resolution 2002/7 of 12 April 2002, and taking note of General Assembly resolution 57/126 of 11 December 2002, in which, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories was reaffirmed,

Expressing its concern that continuing Israeli settlement activity undermines the realization of a two-State solution to the conflict, and therefore threatens the long-term security of Palestinians as well as Israelis,

Expressing its concern also regarding the security threats related to the presence of the settlements in the occupied territories, as expressed in the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee (the Mitchell Report),

1. Welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (E/CN.4/2003/30 and Add.1) and calls upon the Government of Israel to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur to allow him fully to discharge his mandate;

2. Expresses its grave concern:

(a) At the continuation, at an escalated level, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has led to a seemingly endless spiral of hatred and violence and to increased suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians;

(b) At the continuing Israeli settlement activities, including the illegal installation of settlers in the occupied territories and related activities, such as the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War; settlements are a major obstacle to peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State in accordance with Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002;

(c) At and strongly condemns all acts of violence, including indiscriminate terrorist attacks killing and injuring civilians, provocation, incitement and destruction;

(d) At the closures of and within the Palestinian territories and the restriction of the freedom of movement of the Palestinians, including the extensive curfews imposed on the West Bank cities for long periods of time, which contribute, together with other factors, to the intolerable level of violence that has been prevailing in the zone for more than two years, have caused an extremely precarious humanitarian situation for the civilian population and have a negative impact on the enjoyment of economic and social rights in the Palestinian territories, affecting in particular the most vulnerable groups of the population;

(e) At the construction of the so-called security fence in the Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem;

3. Urges the Government of Israel:

(a) To comply fully with the previous Commission resolutions on the subject, most recently resolution 2002/7;

(b) To reverse its settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities;

(c) To prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories;

(d) To stop the construction of the so-called security fence in the Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, and other illegal activities, such as confiscation of land or demolition of houses, that it entails;

(e) To implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114);

(f) To take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories;

4. Urges the parties to cooperate in the early and unconditional implementation, without modifications, of the road map endorsed by the Quartet with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement, which is in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and other relevant United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security and play their full part in the region;

5. Decides to continue its consideration of this question at its sixtieth session.

48th meeting
15 April 2003
[Adopted by a recorded vote of 50 votes to 1,
with 2 abstentions. See chap. VIII.]

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