File Photo: A Palestinian argues with an Israeli soldier during a protest against a new Jewish settlement outpost near the West Bank City of Hebron, on July 1, 2018. (Xinhua/Mamoun Wazwaz)
UNITED NATIONS, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Thursday condemned Israeli settlements in occupied territory, saying Israel is turning temporary occupation into permanent annexation.
"Israel is violating all core principles (of the law of occupation) and does not hide anymore the true colonial nature of its occupation and its intention to annex Palestinian land," al-Maliki told an Arria-formula meeting of the Security Council.
"One of the main aims of the law of occupation is to prevent occupation from being a disguise for colonialism. If you look at the principles that lie at the heart of the law of occupation, you will find they all aim to prevent what should be temporary occupation from transforming into permanent annexation."
"Foremost among these principles is the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force, and that the occupant does not acquire sovereignty over the territory it occupies," he said.
At the inception, Israel had "a grand design and elaborate plan with a clear goal: seize maximum land with minimum Palestinian population," said al-Maliki.
The number of Israeli settlers has grown constantly during the last five decades, including in times characterized as times of peace, he said.
When the Oslo Accords were signed 25 years ago, there were 100,000 Israeli settlers. Today, there are more than 600,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, he noted.
"For decades now, the Palestinian people have been the target of Israeli policies aiming at displacing and replacing them on their own land. Palestine refugees constitute the largest and the most protracted refugee situation in the world and the Palestinian people continue to endure the longest occupation in contemporary history."
Settlements and their associated regime have by design fragmented the Palestinian territory with major Palestinian population centers surrounded by settlements that control the land and the resources, he noted.
For Palestinians, the colonialism has disrupted their daily lives and is a constant infringement on the exercise of their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, he said.
Violence against Palestinians, coupled with a dual system of institutionalized discrimination, is reminiscent of apartheid, said al-Maliki.
"Some try to display outrage at our use of the word apartheid. Please be offended by the policy, not the word. Ask the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement and they will tell you that the apartheid they defeated in South Africa and in Namibia is today prevailing in Palestine and must be stopped."
There can be no justification for colonialism or apartheid -- not security, not religion, not historical alliances and common interests. History has settled this debate forever. And Israeli exceptionalism in this regard would be a terrible signal at the worst time, he said.
An Arria-formula meeting is an informal meeting of the Security Council that can involve outsiders as briefers and the participation of states that are not members of the Security Council.
Thursday's meeting on Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory was chaired by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of May.