- GENEVA (AP) -- The barrier
Israel is building to seal off the West Bank is a violation of Israel's
human rights obligations, a group of UN experts said Thursday.
- The eight rights experts called on Israel "to stop
construction of the wall" and to pay compensation to Palestinians
for damage caused by work on the barrier a series of fences, walls, watchtowers
and trenches along Israel's edge with the West Bank.
- The barrier dips deep into the West Bank in places, disrupting
some Palestinian communities.
- "The wall violates important norms of international
humanitarian law prohibiting the annexation of occupied territory, the
establishment of settlements, the confiscation of private land and the
forcible transfer of people," the statement said.
- Officials at Israel's mission to UN offices in Geneva
had no immediate comment, but the Israeli government has said the barrier
is necessary to keep out Palestinian bombers.
- The West Bank barrier is only partly complete, but Israeli
security experts already credit it with stopping many would-be bombers.
- An older security fence around the Gaza Strip is relatively
simple, but Israel is beefing up its border there in anticipation of its
withdrawal later this month.
- The UN experts also reminded countries "that they
are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting
from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in
maintaining the situation."
- The independent experts, who are appointed by the 53-nation
UN Human Rights Commission, are Yakin Erturk, who reports on violence against
women; Miloon Kothari, housing; Vernor Munoz Villalobos, education; Paul
Hunt, health; Doudou Diene, racism; Leila Zerrougui, arbitrary detention;
Sigma Huda, trafficking; and John Dugard, conditions in the Palestinian
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