GENEVA: The United Nations on Friday named a three member team of experts including former Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir who will investigate whether Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories violate human rights law.
Jahangir has been the subject of human rights cases in the past, having been put under house arrest in 1983 and warned of a plot to assassinate her last month. She was also honoured with a UN award last year.
The team, led by French judge Christine Chanet also includes human rights activist and author Judge Unity Dow of Botswana.
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) launched the probe in March under an initiative brought to the 47-member forum by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's ally the United States was the only member to vote against it.
The council said Israel's planned construction of new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Israel on Friday condemned the investigation. "The establishment of this mission is another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC," a Foreign Ministry statement said.
"This fact-finding mission will find no co-operation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the Territories."
The council's president, Uruguay's ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, announced the names of the investigators after holding consultations among member states, diplomats said.
As the team will not be allowed access to Israeli settlements, they are likely to have to gather information from second-hand sources, including media.
Even if the investigators conclude settlements violate human rights law, US opposition is likely to stymie any attempt to impose any punishment on Israel.
About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Palestinians seek the territory for an independent state along with the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians say settlements, considered illegal by the International Court of Justice, the highest UN legal body for disputes, would deny them a viable state.
Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.
On Monday Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, told a news conference that the acceleration of settlement building had "closed the book" on the feasibility of a two-state solution.
"The Palestinian position gets weaker and weaker through time and the Israelis get more and more of a fait accompli through their unlawful activities," he said.
"Is it just a delaying tactic that allows the Israelis to expand the settlements, expand the settled population, demolish more and more Palestinian homes and structures and engage in a program that has assumed such proportions that the language of ethnic cleansing is the only way to describe the demographic changes in East Jerusalem?"
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OMG, i know her decision will be in favor of Israel and Palestinians will be our enemies again including Afghans
No doubt this nomination is great honour & achievement for Pakistan. But a question arises that, whether this Team'll be allowed to draw its finding on Neutral basis, or influenced by any sort of hidden pressure to display the Specific recommendations. Asma! Go ahead for truth.
You make us proud Asma Jehangir!
she is proud of nation.
Atleast there are some personalities in this country who are recognized globally. Congs. Asma, but you have to prove that you did a fair job.
Can you provide any evidence why that would be the case? Her report on Kashmir is on UN website. Go look at it and see if there is anything objectionable in it from an objective point of view.
Where has she said that, can you provide a reference? No you can't.
The hypocrisy and double standard of the UN is a direct result of the submissiveness of the West. The Westerns are afraid to acknowledge the simple truth about the conspiracy of what is called Palestinians, which are a side effect of the Arabs mind and long program to conquer the whole world and to enslave all who is not like them. She, and the whole others, may go to Gaza and see the life under the Hamas, or to Egypt to see the life of the christens, to Syria to Iran, or to south of Sudan but why to confront the real problems when it so easy to deal with Israel?
for sure she will vote in favor of Isreal, i bet. anyone else want to bet also?
Chand per dhool phankne se apna hi moo kala hota hai (slinging dust on the moon only makes ones own face dirty) Asma is an upright women and a source of inspiration with international recognition. Your comments don't matter, so keep commenting.
finally someone acknowledged the status of this brave lady who fought Mulla all her life, now she is going to fight another type of mulla "rabbi"
She is a brave lady and even endured the viciousness of wicked Zia. She has won the honor for us.
Good News- although how effective this probe will be other then a marketing campaign is another manner- In terms of recognition, I think its a great honor that she has been selected - a tribute to her relentless action in the public circles;
Can UN also pressurize Pakistani Government to build up ties with Israel in a proper manner so that Pakistan can get respect and a worth country in the world.
If Israeli aerospace engineers can train Trukish Airforce, Saudia has proper relations, UAE has no problem , then why Pakistan and Pakistani governments have for generations think that to protect palestine independence its feasible to terminate relations with Israel.
We Pakistani's love to manipulate money from Hajj and Ephedrine but live in a fool's paradise in relation with the whole world and even then disrespected everywhere globally.
Thank you UN for putting one Pakistani to judge the truth.
She is widely respected all over the world for her human rights activities. A well deserving job for her
Despite the trivialization and marginalization of Asma by the PCO judges and their cronies the UNO and the world recognizes her record and services for human rights globally and in Pakistan. Congratulations Asma we are proud of you. PCO judge who aided and abetted in high treason is not going to be recognized by the world body. Thanks for making it to the top, more power to you.
of all the people,Her! :P Good way to increase tensions between two brotherly states - Pakistan and Palestine.
She will end up blaming the palestinians and make friends with the israelis.
Personally I don't see Asma Jehangir as an unbiased person. Her stance on various political and judicial issues speaks of activism, which has essentially to be agenda driven (and not necessarily based on just basis). Her exuberance and personal ambitions of recognition would be at tangent with the purpose of this fact finding mission. So I don't think she would be of any use to highlight Israeli violations.
I know Asma Jahangir's answer: No that's not a violation of human rights. Human rights are only violated by Pakistan's Army and intelligence. Other than that everything is fine in this world. Sensible choice by UN, duh