6 October 2005 – Israel's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the West Bank offers a chance to revive the Road Map peace initiative but its plans to expand West Bank settlements raise particular concern, according to a new report approved by the United Nations panel dealing with Palestinian rights.
The Road Map, drawn up by the Diplomatic Quartet comprising the UN, European Union, Russia and United States, calls for parallel steps from both sides leading to two states living side by side in peace. The original plan was for this to be accomplished by the end of this year.
The 30-year-old Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People approved the draft annual report yesterday and will forward it to the General Assembly for its consideration during the current 60th session.
Highlighting details of each of its seven chapters, Committee Rapporteur Victor Camilleri of Malta expressed particular concern about Israel's settlement expansion plan, noting that it would separate the southern and northern parts of the West Bank and isolate East Jerusalem.
The Committee reiterated its position that the settlements and the barrier built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, were contrary to international humanitarian law, the provisions of the Road Map, and numerous resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council and the General Assembly since 1967.