The UN Human Rights Council's call for sanctions against Israel is crucial because it clearly expresses the idea that the settlement enterprise leads to "ethnic cleansing" in the West Bank, said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee.
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The report released Thursday calls on governments and private corporations across the world to consider economic and political sanctions against Israel over its construction in the settlements. This is the first time such a call has been made from within the United Nations.
The report also called on Israel to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all settlers from the West Bank, saying that its practices violated international law.
Ashrawi said that even if Israel boycotts the council and ignores its report, it can't ignore that Israel is now isolated even further, and that Jerusalem will ultimately have to discuss the report with the international community and UN agencies.
She said that in the past both the international community and Israel ignored UN decisions, but the new report comes out in an era when most of the world recognizes Palestine as a state, and Palestinians have more options.
“We will address every position and every report, and we will accept the decisions for consolidating Palestine's status," she said. "We will also consider turning to the International Criminal Court when the time is right.”
Ashrawi said the PLO is not pinning any hopes on Israel's next government because “when all is said and done, [Benjamin] Netanyahu will be the prime minister once again.”