Geneva Conventions adopt declaration invoking rights of Palestinians in conflict with Israel

Nations belonging to the Geneva Conventions that govern rules of war and military occupations say international humanitarian law must be followed — and all serious violations investigated — in areas affected by conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

A declaration, legally binding on the 126 nations that adopted it by consensus, emphasizes one aspect of the Geneva Conventions: a prohibition on colonizing occupied land.

Among the concerns raised in the 10-point declaration adopted Wednesday are that Israel should "fully and effectively" respect the Fourth Geneva Convention meant to protect civilians during times of war including in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories. Israel and the U.S. did not participate.

Swiss Ambassador Paul Fivat, who chaired the conference, told reporters "this is a signal and we can hope that words count."