“Israeli settlements are in violation of the fourth Geneva convention, which forbids transfer of civilian population into occupied territory.” Is this anything new?

No, this is what the world knows for decades. It was just reiterated by the UNHRC-appointed fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements. However, the UNHRC report goes beyond the usual condemnation of Israel. It asks other nations, agencies and companies to break ties with settlement projects. Most importantly, the report concludes that the Rome Statute establishes the International Court’s jurisdiction over the transfer of population in occupied-Palestine territory.

In my opinion, the ball is now in Palestinians’ court. They should not expect the US, EU or the quartet to take Israelis to the ICC on criminal charges. Only Palestinians can decide the way forward provided they are ready to face the expected punitive reaction from Israel. It is a clear-cut case for the ICC. On the eve of the Oslo agreement in 1993, there were about 200,000 settlers in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and now half a million settlers are living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alone.

There are 127 settlements in the West Bank with dozens of Jewish outposts which are being changed into settlements at convenience and at regular intervals.

Should we expect a show of unity and courage on the part of Palestinians to sue the Israelis who are responsible for what the UN report calls ‘creeping annexation’? We congratulate the UNHRC fact-finding mission for such a forceful report. The world is waiting for Palestinians to take their destiny into their own hands.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail