Press release issued 10 February 2017
The Elders today expressed alarm at new measures adopted by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on 6 February that retrospectively recognise Jewish settlements in the occupied territories that are built on confiscated Palestinian land.
The so-called “Regularisation Law” constitutes a provocative violation of international law that further blights the chances of a just and durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It runs directly against UN Security Council Resolution 2334, passed in December 2016, which reaffirms that “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging a two-state solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-state solution”.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:
“This law is highly damaging both to the prospects for peace in the region, and to Israel’s international reputation as a state that respects the rule of law. Prime Minister Netanyahu should show leadership to overturn this law, paying heed to the objections of Israel’s Attorney General, broad segments of Israeli society, and members of his own Likud Party.”
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders and Prime Minister of Norway at the time of the Oslo Accords, added:
“All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal under international law – whether or not Israel chooses to recognise them. Settlements are a major obstacle to the two-state solution, which must be based on the 1967 border. I am dismayed by this new law, which aggravates existing tensions and compounds injustice, making the prospects for peace more remote.”
The Elders note that these measures are only the latest in a series of actions by Israel in support of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the approval last month to build 600 new homes in settlements in East Jerusalem. Such actions violate international law and are prejudicial to peace.
About The Elders
The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.
The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Hina Jilani, Ricardo Lagos, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.
Ela Bhatt, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are Elders Emeritus.