Friday, February 01, 2013

UN Human Rights Council Report Condemns Israel’s Settlements

The United Nations Human Rights Council has just released its “Report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The full report is here. A helpful list of “selected sources” is here (see especially the list of articles and books on p. 5), although I’ve included a few of those and others below under “further reading.”
At Opinio Juris, Kevin Jon Heller correctly notes “nothing” in this “blistering report condemning Israel’s settlements” “is particularly novel,” for “it’s long been obvious that both the settlements and the transfer of Israeli civilians into the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.”
Conclusions (from pp. 20-21 of the 37 page report, which is followed by ‘recommendations,’ a ‘timeline,’ and map):
100. The facts brought to the attention of the Mission indicate that the State of Israel has had full control of the settlements in the OPT since 1967 and continues to promote and sustain them through infrastructure and security measures. The Mission notes that despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation, the planning and growth of the settlements continues both of existing as well as new structures.
101. The establishment of the settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem is a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
102. The settlements have been established and developed at the expense of violating international human rights laws and international humanitarian law, as applicable in the OPT as notably recognised by the 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion.
103. The settlements are established for the exclusive benefit of Israeli Jews; settlements are being maintained and developed through a system of total segregation between the settlers and the rest of the population living in the OPT. This system of segregation is supported and facilitated by a strict military and law enforcement control to the detriment of the rights of the Palestinian population.
104. The Mission considers that in relation to the settlements Israel is committing serious breaches of its obligations under the right to self-determination and “certain obligations under international humanitarian law,” including the obligation not to transfer its population into the OPT. The Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying Power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory. Ratification of the Statute by Palestine may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims.
105. The existence of the settlements has had a heavy toll on the rights of the Palestinians. Their rights to freedom of self-determination, non-discrimination, freedom of movement, equality, due process, fair trial, not to be arbitrarily detained, liberty and security of person, freedom of expression, freedom to access places of worship, education, water, housing, adequate standard of living, property, access to natural resources and effective remedy are being violated consistently and on a daily basis.
106. The volume of information received on dispossession, evictions, demolitions and displacement points to the magnitude of these practices. These are particularly widespread in certain areas and acute in East Jerusalem.
107. The Mission has noted that the identities of settlers who are responsible for violence and intimidation are known to the Israeli authorities, yet these acts continue with impunity. The Mission is led to the clear conclusion that there is institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people when it comes to addressing violence. The Mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand.
108. The Mission is gravely concerned at the high number of children who are apprehended or detained, including for minor offences. They are invariably mistreated, denied due process and fair trial. In violation of international law they are transferred to detention centres in Israel.
109. Children suffer harassment, violence and encounter significant obstacles in attending educational institutions, which limits their right to access education. Israel, the occupying Power is failing in its duty to protect the right to access education of the Palestinian children and failing to facilitate the proper working of educational institutions.
110. Information gathered by the Mission show that some private entities have enabled, facilitated and profited, from the construction and growth of the settlements, either directly or indirectly.
111. Women alone in their homes, the Bedouins and other vulnerable groups are easy targets for settler violence, creating a sense of insecurity amongst the wider Palestinian society
Further Reading:
  • Cypel, Sylvain. Walled: Israeli Society at an Impasse. New York: Other Press, 2006.
  • Kretzmer, David. The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002.
  • Makdisi, Saree. Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2008.
  • Weizman, Eyal. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. London: Verso, 2007.
  • Zertal, Idith and Akiva Eldar. Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007. New York: The Nation Books, 2007.
Image found here.

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