Human Rights Council discusses human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories

Report
from UN Human Rights Council
Published on 20 Mar 2017 View Original

Human Rights Council
MORNING
20 March 2017

Holds Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Followed by a General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories

The Human Rights Council this morning held an interactive dialogue with Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. High Commissioner for Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein then presented reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner, followed by a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

Presenting his report through a video message, Mr. Lynk said that the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise had moved at an alarming pace since the beginning of the year, with the announced construction of 6,000 new housing units, accompanied by high rates of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The passage of the “Regularization Bill” in Israel which legalised the confiscation of private Palestinian land was a highly worrying indication of the trajectory foreseen by the Israeli Government in the coming years; removing the only domestic legal barrier to settlement construction moved Israel even further from compliance with international law. Mr. Lynk addressed the deteriorating situation in Gaza which was entering its tenth year of Israeli blockade and underlined the importance of the work of human rights defenders. In recent years they had engaged in highly effective local, regional and global advocacy and litigation, reminding the world that the occupation was becoming even more entrenched. The duration and entrenchment of this half-century long occupation was profoundly corrosive of human rights and a dark stain on the efficacy of international law, Mr. Lynk concluded.

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, expressed deep concern about the continuous Israeli occupation of the occupied Palestinian territory even though it was a full member of the United Nations and party to instruments of international law. Israel continued to daily violate international law and to occupy all facets of Palestinian life. The decade-old blockade of Gaza was a collective punishment for all citizens, and violated the right to life, health, movement and expression. If it continued, it would be catastrophic and unsustainable by 2020.

Israel was not present in the room to take the floor as the concerned country.

During the interactive debate, many delegations condemned the excessive violations of human rights by Israel, including imposing an apartheid regime, excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, construction of illegal settlements, obstruction of freedom of movement, demolition of houses, violations of the right to education and health, and the illegal seizure of camps. They deplored Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, thus undermining international human rights mechanisms and the spirit and purpose of the Charter of the United Nations. Speakers supported the work and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, and affirmed that they would support his mandate and the rights of the Palestinian people. They called upon the international community to support the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Some speakers called upon the Human Rights Council to also recognize the rights of Jewish people internationally and not to focus only on the rights of Palestinians. They noted the anti-Israel bias of the Human Rights Council, as the Special Rapporteur was focused solely on investigating violations by Israel while those committed by the Palestinians, including by the terrorist organization Hamas, were ignored.

Speaking were European Union, Pakistan on behalf of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, Iraq on behalf of the Arab Group, Turkey, Bolivia, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, China, Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Namibia, Libya, Malaysia, South Africa, Maldives, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, Ecuador, Lebanon, Brazil, Bangladesh and Jordan.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, World Jewish Congress, Palestinian Return Centre Ltd, Norwegian Refugee Council, Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, United Nations Watch, and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.

The Council then held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented four reports and an oral update on the progress of implementation of the Human Rights Council resolution 31/35. The report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, presented a snapshot of the underlying policies and practices that led to recurring and persistent patterns of human rights violations. The second report of the United Nations Secretary-General reviewed Israeli laws, policies and practices aimed at creating or expanding settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. The third report by the Secretary-General provided an update based on information received from Member States on Israeli laws, policies and practices reportedly aimed at creating or expanding settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan. The High Commissioner for Human Rights presented his ninth periodic report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, which was based on systematic and careful human rights monitoring work undertaken by the Office in the occupied Palestinian territories. The High Commissioner updated the Council on the progress of the comprehensive review of the status of recommendations addressed to all parties since 2009.

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, expressed resentment for the boycotting of the agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab Territories by some countries. Boycotting would only encourage the occupying power to continue human rights violations with impunity. The legalization of the confiscation of private Palestinian lands in the Knesset was a precedent. The international community was asked to stop supporting illegal Jewish settlements, which perpetuated the occupation. Companies were asked to stop working in Jewish settlements.

Syria, speaking as the concerned country, noted that Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan had led to multiple human rights violations of the Arab people living there, including arbitrary detention, and confiscation of land and natural resources. The Israeli settlement projects and the change of the demographic identity of the Syrian Golan were in violation of international law. There should be a list of companies working in the occupied Syrian Golan. Syria condemned the umbrella of protection provided for Israel by the United States and European Union, which had boycotted agenda item 7.

Israel was not present in the room to take the floor as the concerned country.

In the general debate, speakers called upon the international community to support a two-State solution which would ensure the right of Palestinians to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. The silence of the international community encouraged Israel to continue its impunity and lack of accountability for human rights violations. They condemned the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and the flagrant violation by Israeli forces of the Palestinians people’s rights. They deplored the use of force, arbitrary detention, and called on Israel to stop the illegal settlements and all other violations. They also underlined the importance of keeping agenda item 7 as a standing item on the agenda of the Human Rights Council until the end of the occupation, and deplored the fact that some States boycotted item 7 which showed double standards and the continuation of impunity. Other speakers said that since its establishment, the United Nations Human Rights Council had condemned Israel more than any other organization in the world. How was this possible? There were many dictatorships in the world but still, Israel was the most condemned. Jews were on the verge of extinction in many countries. The Secretary General had said that the integrity and credibility of the Human Rights Council would only be enhanced by proceeding in a balanced manner. They called on the Human Rights Council to consider Israel under item 4 as all other countries.

Speaking were Venezuela on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, Nicaragua on behalf of a group of 12 Like-Minded Group States, Iraq on behalf of the Arab Group, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, Bahrain on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Ecuador, Cuba, China, Egypt, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, Nicaragua, Iran, Algeria, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Chile, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Sweden, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Malta, Senegal, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Luxembourg, Uruguay and Mauritania.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Association Bharathi Centre Culturel Franco-Tamoul, Palestinian Return Centre, LTD, World Jewish Council, Norwegian Refugee Council, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Centre Independant de Recherches et d’Initiatives pour le Dialogue, United Nations Watch, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Touro Law Centre The Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, American Association of Jurists, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, International Youth and Student Movement for United Nations, Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l’Homme, International-Lawyers.Org, Union of Arab Jurists, Human Rights Watch, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, European Union of Jewish Students, Amuta for NGO Responsibility, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, Conseil de jeunesse pluriculturelle, World Muslim Progress. Meezaan Centre for Human Rights, and Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling.

The Council has a full day of meetings scheduled today. At 2 p.m., it will hold a general debate on follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/HRC/34/70)

Presentation of Report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967

MICHAEL LYNK, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, speaking in a video message, said that the illegal settlement enterprise had moved at an alarming pace since the beginning of the year, with the announcement of the construction of 6,000 new housing units, accompanied by high rates of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The passage of the “Regularization Bill” in Israel, which legalised the confiscation of private Palestinian land, was a highly worrying indication of the trajectory foreseen by the Israeli Government in the coming years; removing the only domestic legal barrier to settlement construction moved Israel even farther from compliance with international law. Settlements were at the core of many human rights violations experienced by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Palestinian communities living in areas slated for future settlement construction under Israeli plans lived in a coercive environment, constantly under threat of demolition and depending heavily on humanitarian assistance. The pushing out of those communities would amount to forcible transfer, prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Mr. Lynk then addressed the deteriorating situation in Gaza which was entering its tenth year of Israeli blockade. In the second half of 2016, a significant decline had been noted in the number of exit permits issued for residents of Gaza seeking to travel for medical care, including those seeking to accompany patients. The restrictions on humanitarian aid and human rights work further isolated already vulnerable residents of Gaza. The infrastructure was under the added pressure of population growth; the electricity crisis in January 2017 for example left residents without power for as many as 21 hours a day in the middle of a cold winter. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza could be immediately improved by lifting of the blockade.

The Special Rapporteur then stressed an issue of critical importance which deserved attention: the essential work of human rights defenders - Palestinian, Israeli, and international – who in recent years had engaged in highly effective local, regional and global advocacy and litigation, reminding the world that the occupation was becoming even more entrenched. As a result, Palestinian human rights defenders were subject to attacks, incarceration, and threats to their lives and safety. Israeli human rights defenders were enduring an increasingly hostile public atmosphere in Israel and from the settlement movement, stoked by the Israeli political leadership and the media, as well as obstructive legislation enacted or being considered by the Knesset which would single out human rights organizations. For example, a bill which had passed its preliminary reading in January would empower the Israeli Minister of Education to forbid individuals or organizations from entering schools, if their human rights or political activities outside of school could, in the opinion of the Minister, “lead to Israeli soldiers’ prosecution in international courts or foreign countries for actions carried out as part of their military duty.”

In closing, Mr. Lynk said that the duration and entrenchment of this half-century long occupation was profoundly corrosive of human rights and a dark stain on the efficacy of international law. Perpetuating an alien law against five million people against their will required repression of rights, and in the case of an occupying power, this meant violation of international law. Fifty years of occupation was a very long time; the traditional methods of diplomacy such as resolutions, conferences and meetings had been important but unsuccessful tools. Was it not the time to apply more effective diplomatic, political and legal tools at the disposal of the international community?

Statement by the Concerned Country

The President of the Council noted that the delegation of Israel was not in the room.

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, congratulated Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. It expressed its high concern about the continuous Israeli occupation even though it was a full member of the United Nations and party to instruments of international law. Israel continued to daily violate international law and to occupy all facets of Palestinian life. The fact that there was no accountability helped Israel continue to violate human rights law and international humanitarian law. Israel continued to violate the rights of Palestinians, by confiscation of land and building new settlement units, including 6,000 new units of settlements last year. Palestine reiterated the serious nature of such provocative acts and condemned all practices of Israel to change the historic identity of the territory. The decade-old blockade of Gaza was a collective punishment for all citizens, and violated the right to life, health, movement and expression, among other rights. If it continued it would be catastrophic and unsustainable by 2020. The Special Rapporteur had reported that human rights defenders faced daily challenges in their work. Palestine condemned the harassment, threats, intimidation and reprisals towards human rights defenders, media, and civil society in the territory. Mentioning the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Palestine called upon the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop such provocative action against human rights defenders. Since 1967, Israel had carried out the worst human rights violations, including arbitrary practices, ethnic cleansing, an apartheid regime, and confiscation of land practices. Palestine called on the United Nations Member States to put pressure on Israel to abide by international law and to implement the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur in his report, and to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967

European Union reiterated its reservation regarding the mandate which was limited to “investigate Israel’s violations”. In what ways could the Special Rapporteur engage with all stakeholders to improve their situation and better protect civil society in the occupied Palestinian territory? Pakistan, speaking on behalf of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. The illegally imposed regime had instituted deeply discriminatory practices. How could the international community act to compel Israel to end its occupation? Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reminded that Israel’s occupation of Palestine was destabilizing the Middle East and was the main source of the violation of the rights of the Palestinian people. The blockade of Gaza had created a serious humanitarian situation.

Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, expressed deep concern over the Israeli settlements and the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. It reiterated its support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Iraq, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, deplored Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, and the challenges imposed by Israel on human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory. It called on Israel to live up to its legal obligations and on the international community to put an end to the occupation of Palestine. Syria noted that Israel had tried to put its hand on all Arab territories under the protection of certain States which pretended to protect human rights in the Human Rights Council. Syria condemned the violations of economic, social, cultural and all other rights by Israel in Palestine.

Turkey accepted the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, and affirmed it would continue its unwavering support for Palestinian development projects. The Arab Peace Initiative, which included the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, was the only viable way forward. Bolivia expressed deep concern in connection with the report of the Special Rapporteur on Israel’s very serious violations of international law, human rights and humanitarian law, including war crimes which undermined the spirit and purpose of the Charter of the United Nations. Cuba avowed that the Special Rapporteur could count on the full support of Cuba to his mandate, and said it was unacceptable that the occupying power continued to prevent the creation of an independent Israeli State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Cuba strongly condemned the lack of cooperation between the occupying power and the international investigation efforts as well as the Human Rights Council.

Venezuela regretted the lack of cooperation of Israel in this very important dialogue, and condemned the continued excessive use of force, construction of settlements, and obstruction of freedom of movement of the Palestinian people by the Israeli State. The blockade of the Gaza Strip was a collective form of punishment. China said safeguarding the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people was the responsibility of the international community. China supported the Middle East process and the just cause of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Egypt said there were over 5,000 Palestinians in the prisons in Israel. It called upon the Human Rights Council to bring an end to the lack of cooperation of Israel with the Special Rapporteur; the demolition of houses, infrastructure, education and health care facilities; the excessive use of force; the illegal seizure of camps; the construction of settlement units; and arbitrary detention.

Algeria reaffirmed its deep concern and condemnation of Israel’s continued non-cooperation with the Special Rapporteur. It called on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza and to lift all restrictions on freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as the continued building of Jewish settlements. Iran strongly condemned the persistent colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories and the state of terrorism against Palestinian civilians. What would the Special Rapporteur do in the future in light of Israel’s refusal to cooperate with his mandate? Namibia deplored the continuous expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, which would result in the fragmentation of Palestinian territories. It also voiced concern over the violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers.

Libya firmly condemned the lack of cooperation shown by Israel with the Special Rapporteur, which reflected the attitude of the Israeli authorities towards United Nations human rights mechanisms. It warned of the decision of Israel to illegally build 6,000 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Malaysia highlighted Israel’s gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people, which had continued without impunity. To what extent had the Special Rapporteur worked with other relevant thematic mandates, and how could the international community best address Israel’s impunity? South Africa noted that the report was a testimony of the flagrant and complete disregard of Israel of international law. The inaction by the international community was leading to greater injustices of the people of Palestine.

Maldives said that the international efforts at this time seemed to be futile and made little difference on the ground. Settlements, security zones, continued militarization, confiscation of land and resources, detention and all manners of oppression increasingly reduced the viability of a two-State solution, with the point of no return fast approaching. Bahrain said that due to Israel’s intransigence and its refusal to grant access by the Special Rapportuer to the occupied Palestinian territories, the report did not reflect the scale of violations committed by Israel for decades now, including the separation wall which was an apartheid practice. The report confirmed the tragic situation of the Palestinian people under Israeli’s occupation, said Saudi Arabia and condemned Israel’s settlement policy and the blockade of Gaza which was an example of collective punishment of Palestinians.

Qatar noted that the report clearly evidenced that Israel did not believe in the two-State solution and that it continued gross violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, including apartheid which constituted a crime against humanity, for which it must be held accountable. Iraq said that the policy of discrimination, collective punishment and systematic killing was counter to the most basic human rights, and reaffirmed the importance of the respect of international law by Israel and withdrawal from all occupied territories. Sudan strongly condemned the violation of human rights by Israel, the expansion of settlements and the blockade of Gaza which was the worst in history.

Tunisia condemned Israel’s expansionist settlement policy and efforts to impose a fait accompli on the Palestinian people. It called on Israel to end its repressive policies and restrictions on freedom of movement against the Palestinian people. Ecuador reaffirmed its commitment to the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. It condemned systematic terror by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian population, and the building of illegal Jewish settlements as a way to alter the demographic situation. Lebanon firmly condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, which was yet more proof of its disregard for its international obligations. The work of human rights defenders was crucial in documenting Israel’s human rights abuses.

Brazil underlined the importance of the work of human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory as a peaceful way to seek redress for human rights abuses. Any threats to their freedom and physical integrity had to be duly investigated. Bangladesh denounced Israel’s complete disregard for global calls to stop all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. It called on Israel to stop all settlement activities and atrocities against the Palestinian population, especially children. Jordan agreed that Israel should immediately repeal its recent legislation which confiscated private Palestinian lands, end the practice of the demolition of Palestinian homes, and end the blockade of Gaza.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies spoke about the treatment of families of martyrs or prisoners by Israel, from holding on to a body for several months, to the detention of family members, to confiscation of homes and land. World Jewish Congress noted the anti-Israel bias of the Human Rights Council, as the Special Rapporteur was focused solely on investigating violations by Israel while those committed by the Palestinians, including by the terrorist organization Hamas, were ignored. Palestinian Return Centre noted a coordinated campaign targeting Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders seeking justice and accountability. An escalation of acts of intimidation by the Israeli Government and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-State actors had created an increasingly dangerous environment for activists in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Norway Refugee Council warned that recently, Israel had been coupling its processes of de facto annexation with legislative initiatives which would effectively culminate in measures of de jure annexation. There must be an assessment of whether measures taken in the past to stop the violations had been effective; other, more effective measures must be taken until violations came to an end. Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust said that the report, in its focus on the situation on human rights defenders, concentrated on defenders of Palestinians and neglected the defence of Jewish human rights. BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights raised the issue of the annexation of Jerusalem by Israel which was an illegal act and breached international law, stressing that Israel must not use the annexation of Jerusalem to apply the racist policies on the Jerusalemites.

United Nations Watch said that everything heard from the world’s worst abusers of human rights was Orwellian. It reminded that the Arab population living in Israel who enjoyed their full citizenship rights. Where was the real apartheid? Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights warned that civil society and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory should not be met with Government repression. Such attacks clearly aimed to undermine the peaceful efforts to defend others.

Documentation

The Council has before it Implementation of Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1 - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/34/36).

The Council has before it Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan - Report of the Secretary-General (A/HRC/34/37).

The Council has before it a corrigendum to Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan - Report of the Secretary-General (A/HRC/34/37/Corr.1).

The Council has before it Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - Report of the Secretary-General (A/HRC/34/38).

The Council has before it Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan - Report of the Secretary-General (A/HRC/34/39).

The Council has before it Database of all business enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of the 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 - Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ​- Note by the Secretary-General (A/HRC/34/77).

Presentation of Reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented four reports and an oral update on the progress of the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 31/35. The report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Human Rights Council resolution 31/34, presented a snapshot of the underlying policies and practices that led to recurring and persistent patterns of human rights violations.

The second report of the United Nations Secretary-General, based on Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, reviewed Israeli laws, policies and practices aimed at creating or expanding settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. This included retroactive legalization of unauthorized outposts under Israeli law, declaration of State land, and zoning and planning policies. The report examined the implications of a coercive environment which further increased the risk of forcible transfer for many Palestinian communities, and also analysed the human rights violations involved in the production of settlement goods and the relationship between trade in those goods and the maintenance and economic growth of settlements. High Commissioner Zeid noted that the Council’s endorsement of a one-time deferral of the report on the database of business enterprises engaged in the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, would allow his Office adequate time for consultations and that due process was respected. The third report by the Secretary-General pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 31/25 provided an update based on information received from Member States on Israeli laws, policies and practices reportedly aimed at creating or expanding settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights presented his ninth periodic report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, which was based on systematic and careful human rights monitoring work undertaken by the Office in the occupied Palestinian territories. It contained cases of human rights violations monitoring by the Office, and set out recommendations to each of the main duty bearers, namely Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the authorities in Gaza. A half-century of occupation and settlements had taken a heavy toll, noted the High Commissioner, with the pattern of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law becoming all too familiar. The illegal settlement enterprise and related unlawful seizure and destruction of property, the demolitions and resultant forced displacement, settler violence, excessive use of force and possible extra-judicial killings, and collective punishment measures remained at the core of human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.

This year marked another milestone as Israel’s blockade of Gaza entered its tenth year and frustration and despair continued to grow, said High Commissioner Zeid, adding that his Office had consistently provided detailed information as to how impunity had driven human rights violations and how lack of accountability on both sides fuelled new cycles of violence and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The High Commissioner updated the Council on the progress of the comprehensive review of the status of recommendations addressed to all parties since 2009 pursuant to resolution 31/35, saying that 900 recommendations addressed to a range of actors – Israel, the State of Palestine other Palestinian duty bearers and the international community - had been analysed and that consultations were currently underway with the parties concerned. The report would be presented to the Council at its thirty-fifth session in June 2017.

Statements by the Concerned Countries

The President of the Council noted that Israel was not in the room.

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, took note of the recommendations addressed to the Government of the State of Palestine, and expressed resentment for the boycotting of the agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories by some countries. Boycotting would only encourage the occupying power to continue human rights violations with impunity. Israel had used excessive force against the Palestinians, including military incursions, extrajudicial killings, blockade and economic exploitation. Israel’s settlement activities and the building of thousands of settlement units was in complete contravention of international law. The legalization of the confiscation of private Palestinian lands in the Knesset was a precedent. The international community was asked to stop supporting illegal Jewish settlements, which perpetuated the occupation. Companies were asked to stop working on building Jewish settlements in line with the United Nations Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. The confiscation of private lands violated personal rights. Gaza, which was an integral part of Palestine, had been under siege for 10 years. The blockade of Gaza undermined Palestinians’ economic development. The end of the occupation was the only way to safeguard human rights.

Syria, speaking as the concerned country, noted that Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan had led to multiple human rights violations of the Arab people living there, including arbitrary detention and confiscation of land and natural resources. The Israeli settlement projects and the change of the demographic identity of the Syrian Golan were in violation of international law. Syria condemned the umbrella of protection provided for Israel by the United States and European Union, which had boycotted agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. That was the result of double standards. Silence encouraged Israel to support terrorist groups in the occupied Golan and to supply weapons to Al Nusra. That aggression violated the United Nations Charter and was a great threat to international peace and security. There would be more reports unmasking Israel and showing that its occupation of Arab lands was the last colonization in the modern world.

General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Non-Aligned Movement continued to maintain a position of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Non-Aligned Movement also underscored the need to continue providing assistance to the Palestinian people and bolstering their efforts to achieve their legitimate national aspirations. The Non-Aligned Movement noted with appreciation the report presented and expressed its concern at the destruction of homes and property which changed the composition of the occupied Palestinian territories. The Human Rights Council and the international court of justice had confirmed that the expansion of settlements were illegal under international law.

Nicaragua, speaking on behalf of a group of 12 Like-Minded States, expressed concern at breaches of international humanitarian law and alarm at reports that concluded that Israel had established an apartheid regime which constituted a serious crime, including through the violation of human rights law. The Group of Like-Minded States condemned the persistent non-cooperation of Israel with the Council and the longstanding impunity which allowed for the recurrence of the situation. The occupation was the main obstacle for human rights, and illegal settlement activities endangered the viability of the two-State solution. The Group of Like-Minded States urged Israel to respect its legal obligations.

Iraq, speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, regretted that some States boycotted the agenda item under discussion, adding that 50 years had passed since the Israeli colonial occupation, yet Israel continued its unlawful practices against Palestinian citizens and hits building of settlement units on Palestinian land. Israel continued to violate international conventions and United Nations resolutions. Israel had continued its oppressive embargo on Gaza for 10 years, and the embargo should come to an end. The Palestinian people continued to be subjected to campaigns of detention, and Israel continued its torture policy. Israel should heed its obligations under international humanitarian law. The Group of Arab States called on the international community to exercise pressure to put an end to the violations and to impose sanctions on Israel.

Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, condemned in the strongest terms the systematic violation of human rights as a result of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories. This required adequate response by the international community, including holding Israel, the occupying power, accountable. By not addressing the continued defiance of Israel, the international community was risking its credibility and removal of this item from the Council’s agenda might open doors to impunity.

Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, stressed the importance of this agenda item which was an opportunity to shed light on the violations by Israel against the people of Palestine. The Gulf Cooperation Council underscored the importance of all Arab and international efforts to create a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that illegal settlements continued to present a threat to peace. The State of Palestine must become a full member of all international bodies.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that, against the backdrop of international paralysis, Israel, the occupying power, had persisted with its deliberate, systematic and gross violations with total impunity. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejected the distorted narrative of Israel which portrayed the aggressor as the victim, and condemned the “Regularization Bill” aimed at permanent control over occupied territory through annexation and colonization of Palestinian land. The involvement of Israeli and multinational corporations in illegal settlements, resulting in corporate complicity in war crimes, was deplorable.

Qatar reiterated the importance of keeping item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories on the Council’s agenda. Trying to eliminate or marginalize that item would only encourage Israel to continue its discriminatory policies against Palestinians. Israel sought to destroy the two State solution by constructing illegal Jewish settlements. The recent report by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) showed clearly that Israeli was guilty of imposing an apartheid regime. The withdrawal of the report showed double standards at the United Nations.

Ecuador supported the two-State solution to put an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. It fully recognized the State of Palestine and its people’s right to self-determination. The siege of Gaza had led to multiple violations of human rights. Ecuador urged Israel to end all actions that undermined the rights of Palestinians. It urged Israeli authorities to put an end to impunity for those who had committed human rights abuses, and to provide compensation to those who had lost their land.

Cuba noted that the serious human rights violations committed by Israel against the Palestinians should remain on the Council’s agenda. Israel continued to build the illegal wall in the occupied Palestinian territory and its blockade of Gaza. Both should be stopped. Cuba noted that there was a need for a peaceful and lasting solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The only peaceful solution was the creation of two States, respecting the pre-1967 borders. It was a high time to put a definitive end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

China said that safeguarding the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people was the common responsibility of the international community. China called for the cessation of the expansion of settlements and opposed all violence against civilians. China supported the Middle East Peace process and the just cause of the Palestinian people. China welcomed and supported all efforts to ease the situation and realize the two-State solution. China was ready to work with the international community to promote a just solution to the issue.

Egypt condemned the unlawful practices mentioned in the reports under discussion, including the expansion of settlements. The Human Rights Council must protect the human rights of the Palestinian people. The unlawful occupation violated Palestinian freedom. Some Western countries continued to boycott item 7 on the Human Rights Council agenda, which was a demonstration of selectivity and double standards that encouraged gross violations of human rights by Israel.

Venezuela said it was regrettable that Israel has failed to comply with international humanitarian law. Venezuela condemned the destruction of Palestinian homes as well as the expansion of settlements by Israel. Reaffirming its condemnation of the excessive use of Israeli military force, Venezuela further condemned the inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza which was a form of collective punishment. Venezuela reiterated its support to the Palestinian people and reaffirmed that solidarity was necessary as it represented resistance against any oppression.

Indonesia said after all of the deliberations carried out by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Palestinian people continued to experience tremendous suffering to this day. This not only questioned the effectivity of the efforts to remedy the conditions on the ground, but showed that political concern seemed to be constantly outweighing the sense of humanity. Indonesia would always stand side-by-side with the Palestinian people. It asked Israel to end all developments of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Bangladesh said it was of great concern that the people of Palestine continued to suffer from brutal Israeli aggression and long-drawn deprivation of fundamental human rights. This state of affairs let down the entire Council, rendering its numerous resolutions adopted in regular and special sessions inconsequential. Israel’s blatant disregard for all such pronouncements continued unabated, exposing the barefaced double-standards of the global champions of human rights. Time had come for the international community to make it clear to Israel that there was no other way towards peace than working for the resolution of all outstanding issues.

Iraq thanked the High Commissioner for Human Rights for his report. Iraq strongly condemned the violations of the Palestinian people’s human rights at the hands of Israeli forces. It supported all resolutions against the illegality of the Israeli settlements, and called upon Israel to abide by United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016, as well as to heed the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and to guarantee all the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. Iraq called upon the international community to support the inalienable right to return and to self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Tunisia reiterated its commitment to agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, which should be kept on the Council’s agenda. The continuation of detentions, killings and displacement of Palestinian civilians by Israel was a violation of international law. Tunisia called on the international community to compel Israel to uphold its full responsibility in line with international law, and to put an end to the occupation of Palestine and other Arab lands.

Saudi Arabia regretted the continued boycott of agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories by some Western countries. It reiterated that item 7 was a standing and major item of the United Nations and all other specialized agencies. Saudi Arabia condemned the building of the illegal wall, the building of illegal Jewish settlements, and the destruction of Palestinian homes and infrastructure. It called on the Council to compel Israel to stop Judaising East Jerusalem and blocking access to the holy sites. Israel should also lift its blockade of Gaza.

Slovenia voiced deep concern over the trend of the continued construction of illegal Jewish settlements, which undermined the two-State solution and peace and security in the region. Punitive demolitions and high unemployment of the Palestinian youth created an atmosphere that was not conducive to finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel had a responsibility to ensure the protection of human rights of Palestinians living under its control.

United Arab Emirates expressed concern at the Judaition of lands and measures such as banning the call to prayer. Security Council resolutions had to be complied with. Settlements were a violation of the United Nations Charter. Security Council resolutions called for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories. The international community had to call for a two-State settlement pursuant to all international resolutions on the matter.

Russian Federation expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. Serious concern was expressed at continued unlawful settlement activities, including legalising settlement outposts created on private Palestinian land in the West Bank. The only option for a fair settlement was a two-State solution. The Russian Federation called on Israel to ensure compliance with human rights; all solutions including that of the borders should be resolved by direct political dialogue between the parties.

Nicaragua reiterated its recognition of the State of Palestine and added that the occupation of the Palestinian territories continued to be the main cause of human rights violations of the people of Palestine. Nicaragua’s Government launched an appeal to the international community to find a lasting solution based on international law. It was imperative to call a halt to the building of settlements.

Iran said the reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights were extremely important and showed the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan by Israel. Iran condemned the occupation, especially the continuous building of settlements on Palestinian and Arab lands. The Israeli legislation which confiscated Palestinian lands was unacceptable. Settlement activities in the Syrian Golan were a core violation of human rights. The only solution was putting an end to the prolonged occupation, and upholding the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

Algeria said it was very important to keep in sight the agenda of the Human Rights Council, given the just cause of the Palestinian people, who suffered at the hands of the Israeli occupation. Israel continued its unjustified use of force and arbitrary detention – policies which it even applied to children – in blatant violation of international humanitarian law and human rights. The withdrawal of the report on Israeli practices was unacceptable. The United Nations community had to ensure that Israel immediately withdrew from the occupied territories and ended all violating activities.

Libya condemned the use of torture which had been systematically exercised on the Palestinian people by the Israeli forces for the past five decades. Arbitrary killings and human rights violations occurred on a daily basis, and discriminatory policies continued. Expulsions of Palestinian people from land seized, and the destruction of homes and colonisation continued. All this constituted a flagrant violation of international law, notably the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in War Time. The Palestinian people were harassed and prisoners were tortured.

Malaysia said the reports under discussion documented repressive policies by Israel against the Palestinians. Israel continued to act with impunity and Palestinians suffered without redress. The Human Rights Council had to call for the right to self-determination for Palestinians and support a two-State solution based on its pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Morocco underscored the importance of Item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. Reports showed that the Israeli authorities were imposing the status quo through expanding settlements. Those illegitimate measures targeted Jerusalem in particular. Condemnation of such measures was reiterated.

Pakistan said the debate under item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories by some countries reflected the international community’s failure to protect the Palestinian people and showed the brutality of the occupying forces. The right to self-determination was a bedrock on which people enjoyed rights including the right to development. The occupying power was allowed to continue violations of international humanitarian law through house demolitions and illegal colonial activity.

Chile said the international community had to put an end to acts of violence in the region. There had to be no continuation of the blockade which had serious humanitarian consequences. The expansion of settlements should be considered, and all those acts violate international law and were a serious obstacle to bringing about a Palestinian State. Chile continued to support a two-State solution. Both States had the right to live in peace within borders that were safe and inviolable.

Kuwait reiterated the need for item 7 on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, which required that the Council look into the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. Any attempt to side-line the Human Rights Council agenda item was an attempt to justify the Israeli violation of human rights. Kuwait supported the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli attempts to settle and colonize occupied territories were unacceptable.

Bahrain stressed the importance of agenda item 7 staying on the Human Rights Council agenda until the end of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. It regretted that some States were trying to shift this issue and put it under agenda item 4 on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention. The siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip was a collective punishment of the Palestinian people and was illegal. Israeli settlements in Palestine and the plan to build almost 6,000 settlements, under the Settlement Law Project, which confiscated Palestinian lands, was a blatant attempt to legitimize crimes.

Turkey said that the 50-year long occupation of all Palestinian territories was unacceptable. The deep feeling of injustice continued. United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 proved that Israeli occupation settlements destroyed the possibility of peace. Turkey said any provocative steps on the status of Jerusalem should be prevented. Banning prayers was in violation of the freedom of religion. Turkey underlined that 137 countries had recognized the State of Palestine and urged all other States to recognize it. The establishment of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital was the only way forward.

Sweden said respect for international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights, was the cornerstone of peace, development, democracy and the rule of law. Nevertheless, the world was witnessing an ongoing violation of these rights, including the freedom of movement, detention without trial, and a worsening situation of human rights defenders. Perpetrators had to be brought to justice. The rapid escalation of the destruction of homes had reached the highest level, was in blatant violation of international law, and undermined the peace process.

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf supported the Palestinian question and said agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories had to remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. The methodical systematic destruction of Palestinian land was condemned. The Gulf Cooperation Council regretted the international silence vis a vis the occupying power. There was a need to expedite efforts with a view to put an end to the Israeli occupation.

Malta regretted that the Special Rapporteur had not been granted access by Israel, and called on all parties to refrain from unilateral steps. The expansion of settlement activities led the parties on a high-stakes collision course. Malta reiterated that settlement activities remained illegal under international law and presented one of the main obstacles to a solution.

Senegal expressed grave concern at the situation of the Palestinian people. United Nations Security Council resolutions indicated the way forward, which clearly stated that settlement expansion had no legal validity. Senegal demanded a halt to settlements and a stop to the Gaza blockade. Senegal called for a renewal of the peace process which was necessary for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea said for decades the United Nations had adopted dozens of resolutions calling on Israel to stop the killing of civilians, yet the situation went from bad to worse. Continued human rights violations constituted illegal acts against the United Nations Charter. Such acts should never be tolerated. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea urged Western countries not to side with Israel.

Yemen agreed with all States that supported that agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories stay on the agenda of the Human Rights Council as it reiterated the serious plight of Palestinian people ranging from torture to detention. This agenda item was important, in order to highlight the violations of Israel, the occupying power. Yemen supported the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. It supported the United Nations resolution on the settlements, and called for the end of all occupied Arab territories, including part of Lebanon.

Jordan highlighted the importance of the report and its implementation which showed the gross violations by the Israeli occupation. Jordan condemned and rejected these violations. There was no alternative to a two-State solution which would ensure the right of Palestinians to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. Jordan would work to relaunch peaceful talks on the basis of this solution and in line with the Arab Peace Initiative.

Lebanon deplored the fact that some States boycotted agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and tried to drop it from the Human Rights Council’s agenda. This showed double standards and the continuation of impunity. Israel still occupied Arab lands. Lebanon called for an end to the occupation of lands in Palestine as well as the Syrian Golan. It affirmed the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Oman reiterated how important it was to keep item 7 as a standing item on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. It called on all States to participate in item 7, which allowed the international community to shed light on the violations which were systematically employed by Israeli forces. If there was no settlement of the Palestinian question it would be impossible to have co-existence with Israel. A lasting peaceful solution could only be brought about if Israel ceased to be an occupying power. A restoration of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital was necessary.

Luxembourg said the fiftieth anniversary of the occupation was a notable year. The status quo was unsustainable, rocket strikes toward Israel remained an unacceptable threat. Luxembourg stressed the importance of Israel cooperating with mechanisms of the United Nations, and noted that there was no alternative to a two-State solution which was the best chance to achieve a lasting peace. Time was running out.

Uruguay welcomed the reports received on the situation and expressed worry about the wide array of issues. Uruguay urged the parties to avoid taking unilateral measures. The stagnation was marked by violent clashes. Uruguay was concerned about the worsening human rights situation in the Gaza Strip, where there were obstacles to economic and social rights. All should respect international humanitarian law.

Mauritania said the report of the Special Rapporteur highlighted questions of concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the punishment of children and abuse carried out by Israeli forces. The populations were deprived of their most elementary rights, and illegal settlements undermined trust leading to peace and security. Mauritania supported the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Association Bharathi Centre Culturel Franco-Tamoul deplored the ongoing situation and remained deeply concerned at Israel’s use of excessive force. Defamation and intimidation attempts were also condemned. The Human Rights Council was called on to consider the Zionist ideology. Eelam Tamils were facing similar land-grabbing by the Sri Lankan Government.

Palestinian Return Centre LTD was concerned about the devastating failure of the international community to exert real pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to bring its actions in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions. In 2017, it was 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the United Nations Partition Plan, the Israeli occupation would enter its fiftieth year, and the closure of Gaza Strip would enter its tenth year.

World Jewish Council said since its establishment the United Nations Human Rights Council had condemned Israel more than any other organization in the world. How was this possible? There were many dictatorships in the world but still, Israel was the most condemned. Jews were on the verge of extinction in many countries. The Secretary General had said that the integrity and credibility of the Human Rights Council would only be enhanced by proceeding in a balanced manner. The World Jewish Council called on the Human Rights Council to consider Israel under item 4 as all other countries.

Norwegian Refugee Council said over the past nine years, it had provided legal aid to challenge a disenfranchising spatial planning policy imposed in Area C and East Jerusalem to prevent forcible transfer and protect housing, land and property rights. It had assisted to date in thousands of court cases on behalf of Palestinians, providing interim protection from forcible transfer. Regrettably, only 37 per cent of cases were concluded with favorable ruling and effective remedies. It continued to engage in litigation before Israeli courts.

BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said on 18 January 2017, Israeli forces completely demolished 15 Palestinian structures in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran. In 1956 these residents had been expelled from their original village by an Israeli military order and forcibly relocated in their current location. BADIL strongly condemned this racist double standard policy favoring Jewish-Israeli citizens. It called for the immediate end of the continuing and daily Nakba, which had forcibly displaced the Palestinian population since 1948.

Centre Independent de Recherches et d’Initiative pour le Dialogue expressed surprise that the report on human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories was a document which was only available electronically in English, which prevented it from a wider dissemination. The report talked of the occupation as ongoing, whereas there had been a refusal of the visit of the Special Rapporteur.

United Nations Watch said the United Nations was founded by those who had defeated the Nazis yet the premise of the present meeting was the opposite of the founding principles of the United Nations. There was an absence of the great democracies from the present meeting, which showed a pattern concerning human rights. The agenda item under discussion contradicted universality.

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches expressed grave concern at the rapid advancement of forcible transfer plans for 46 communities of central West Bank into relocation sites. The demolition of the school would deprive children of education. Israel as an occupying power was bound by international humanitarian law and could not destroy property it was occupying.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies drew attention to the detention and arrest of journalists by Israeli authorities, which criminalized most Palestinian civic activities. It called on each State individually and collectively to use their influence to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in Palestine.

Touro Law Centre The Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust warned that the apartheid at the Human Rights Council had already been entrenched, condemning the Jewish State more than any other country. The only way not to legitimize the Council’s apartheid regime was to not belong.

International Association of Democratic Lawyers deeply regretted the United Nations Secretary-General’s request to withdraw the report titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” released on 15 March 2015 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). It called on the Council to formally endorse that report.

American Association of Jurists recalled that the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibited the forced transfer of populations in occupied territories and urged Israel to implement all recommendations to abolish practices and policies of racial segregation. Many war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel, as well as the apartheid system imposed by Israel, must be prosecuted and those responsible made accountable.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights said that the international community was ineffective in ensuring justice and accountability for human rights violations while Israel had not opened a single investigation into serious allegation of human rights. Palestinians in Gaza had no access to compensation and redress and Israel must remove all barriers for Palestinian pursuit for civil tort claims against the Israeli military actions that included killings and damages.

International Youth and Student Movement for United Nations said that the Palestine people in Hebron lived under Israeli military law while settlers received full legal protection. Israel used its military court system to silence the voices of human rights defenders and prevent nonviolent human rights activism. The Council should take swift action to help end the 50 years of occupation by Israel.

Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture raised its voice to ensure that the voice of law and of those who had an interest in the implementation of the rule of law in Palestine were heard. It called on Israel to honour its commitments with respect to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Johannesburg Declaration.

Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l’Homme warned that silence would encourage the widespread abuse of human rights in Palestine. It criticized those countries which had not endorsed the recent report of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. Allies of Israel should not be encouraged to continue such practices. The Palestinian people had been treated like cattle.

International-Lawyers.Org noted that the violation of Palestinians’ rights was more serious than reported. The United Nations should always uphold the highest standard of human rights and the issue of Palestinian rights was the most serious issue of its agenda. The Secretary-General’s decision to suppress the report of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia was regrettable.

Union of Arab Jurists condemned the decision of the Knesset to confiscate Palestinian land which was yet another crime of a State placing itself above the law. The occupying power continued to install an apartheid regime while the crimes committed reached levels of genocide. Despite the resolution adopted 40 years calling upon Israel to withdraw from the Golan immediately, Israel continued to practice demographic changes and refused to withdraw from the occupied Syrian Golan.

Human Rights Watch said that the United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 declared Israeli settlements a flagrant violation of international law; at the same time, Israeli had expanded settlement activity and had passed the so-called Regulation Bill legalising confiscation of Palestine land. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should urgently complete its database on businesses operating in illegal settlements.

International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination spoke about the bombing of houses in which children were killed, and stressed that no prosecution of perpetrators had been undertaken. The violence by settlers must stop.

Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man reminded of the global calls on Israel to end the occupation for 50 years. Because of the silence of the international community Israel had continued its impunity and lack of accountability for human rights violations. States should ensure that businesses operating in the Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories were held responsible.

European Union of Jewish Students reminded that the work of the organization was to empower students to have constructive and nuanced discussion on Israel/Palestine. That method of dialogue and debate was more productive than alienation and hostility. When would the Council stop demonizing Israel? Singling out Israel led to international campaigns breeding division and perpetuating historical inaccuracy.

Amuta for NGO Responsibility warned against the anti-Semitic campaign and demonization of Israel which had been revived with the Durban Declaration. There was no prohibition of business activity in settlements across the globe. The black list of businesses operating in Jewish settlements violated due process.

Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations said that last March, the Council had adopted a scandalous resolution which had mandated the High Commissioner for Human Rights to create a blacklist of Israeli and other businesses operating in settlements. This singling out of Jewish businesses was usually a precursor of violence and those cooperating. Jews deserved a Human Rights Council which did not discriminate, and promoted peace and reconciliation.

Conseil de jeunesse pluriculturelle said immediately upon the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 calling upon Israel to cease its settlement activities, Israel had announced one of its largest settlement programmes. The destruction of property in Gaza continued, and this was happening without any accountability.

World Muslim Progress said that the violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories happened with total impunity. The continued attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque were of concern. Israel was applying policies which did not protect Israelis, but defended occupation and apartheid. The international community must no longer remain silent.

Meezaan Centre for Human Rights reminded of the continuous suffering of the Palestinian people and the law passed to legalize the confiscation of Palestinian private lands, which was a way to impose Israeli rule illegally. It called upon the Council to counter Israeli expansion and building of illegal settlements.

Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling warned that night raids had been conducted in proximity of Jewish settlements, and it strongly condemned the construction of illegal settlements. Such policies in the occupied Palestinian territory violated international law. It called on the Government of Israel to stop building settlements and to stop night raids.

For use of the information media; not an official record

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