Hollywood star and human rights activist Richard Gere has lashed out at Israel over its settlements in Palestine, labeling them an "absurd provocation."
The actor who was attending the Israeli premiere of his new film, ‘Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,’ spoke to a leading newspaper criticizing Israel's ongoing settlement construction on Palestinian land.
"They are certainly not part of the program of someone who wants a genuine peace process," he said.
“Obviously this occupation is destroying everyone ... There’s no defense of this occupation. Settlements are such an absurd provocation and, certainly in the international sense, completely illegal."
Gere reportedly also met with several organizations working toward Palestinian-Israeli coexistence. This is something he has done during past visits as well.
In recent months Israel has sparked outrage over "a contentious new law that seeks to retroactively legalize thousands of West Bank Jewish settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land," The Guardian reported.
Many senior Palestinian officials have condemned the settlements, including Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi who spoke to CNN.
"The problem is you cannot enslave a whole nation, and treat it like a sub-human species, with the most racist, extremist, hardline, violent government in history. And then ask them to lie down and die quietly."
Ashrawi's comments came in light of the UN security council's vote that demanded a halt to Israeli settlement activity in December last year.
Human rights organizations including Al Haq have also condemned the law and continue to document the endless injustices that Palestinians suffer on a daily basis in the face of a ruthless occupation.