a. Human rights relating to the occupation
1. Israel and international law - a JfJfP Fact sheet
2. Reports of the Special Rapporteur, John Dugard, on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
In his report John Dugard deals briefly and effectively with criticisms made of previous reports by concerned states: that his reports are repetitive, ignores the issue of terrorism and fails to condemn Palestinian human rights violations.
* “In short, reports are repetitious because the same violations of human rights and humanitarian law continue to occur in the OPT.”
* “Terrorism is a scourge… Common sense, however, dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al Qaeda, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation. While such acts cannot be justified, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation. History is replete with examples of military occupation that have been resisted by violence – acts of terror.”
* “In the present international climate it is easy for a State to justify its repressive measures as a response to terrorism – and to expect a sympathetic hearing. Israel exploits the present international fear of terrorism to the full.”
* “The Special Rapporteur is aware of the ongoing violations of human rights committed by Palestinians upon Palestinians and by Palestinians upon Israelis. He is deeply concerned and condemns such violations. However, they find no place in this report because the mandate requires that the report be limited to the consequences of the military occupation of the OPT by Israel.”
In the summary introduction to the detailed report, Dugard makes the following points
* Israel’s obligations as an occupying Power have not diminished as a result of the prolonged nature of the occupation.
* Israel remains the occupying Power in Gaza despite its claim that Gaza is a “hostile territory”.
* The human rights situation in the West Bank has worsened.
* The right of self-determination of the Palestinian people is seriously threatened by the separation of Gaza and the West Bank resulting from the seizure of power by Hamas in Gaza in June 2007. Every effort must be made by the international community to restore Palestinian unity.
* The new peace process “must take place within a normative framework that respects international law, international humanitarian law and human rights. The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory? is an essential feature of this framework and cannot be overlooked by the Annapolis peace process, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, the Quartet and the United Nations. The Secretary-General as the representative of the United Nations must ensure that the Advisory Opinion, which represents the law of the United Nations, is respected by all parties engaged in the Annapolis process.”
”The international community has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights – colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation. Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying Power and third States? It is suggested that this question might appropriately be put to the International Court of Justice for a further advisory opinion.
The Occupied Palestinian Territory is the only instance of a developing country that is denied the right of self-determination and oppressed by a Western-affiliated State. The apparent failure of Western States to take steps to bring such a situation to an end places the future of the international protection of human rights in jeopardy as developing nations begin to question the commitment of Western States to human rights.’
70th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), 19 February to 9 March 2007: Update to Comments by Amnesty International on Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
by Francis A. Boyle
Counterpunch, March 31, 2002
5. Report to the UN on Racial Discrimination
Association for Civil Liberties in Israel
Shadow Report submitted by ACRI to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in January 2006
This report looks at:
* House Demolitions and Discriminatory Planning and Enforcement Policies in the West Bank
* The Permit Regime in the Seam Zone between the Separation Barrier and the Green Line
*Hebron: Segregationist and Discriminatory Practices Leading to the Destruction of the Center of Hebron and the Expulsion of its Palestinian Population
* Two Systems of Justice: Discriminatory Detention and Deportation Procedures for Foreign Nationals
* Immigration and Access to Citizenship: Entry into Israel, Status in Israel, and the Right to Marriage and Choice of Spouse
* Migrant Workers and Employment Rights
* Racial Discrimination against the Arab Bedouin Residents of the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev in the Areas of Housing and Health Rights
5. Does Israel operate a shoot-to-kill’ policy?
Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes
BMJ 2004;329:924 (16 October)
‘In conducting 238 extrajudicial executions the army has also killed 186 bystanders (including 26 women and 39 children). Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest—the sniper’s wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat. These statistics attract far less publicity than suicide bombings, atrocious though these are too.’
Summerfield draws on ‘Breaking the Silence testimony to bolster the claims made in his earlier article above (‘Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes’)
Tom Hurndall memorial talk, delivered by Richard Kuper at Manchester Metropolitan University, on 15th November 2006
Al-Haq’s Monitoring and Documentation Department has been producing quarterly reports since the beginning of 2005, covering human rights abuses committed by the Israeli Occupying Power and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Each field report highlights a particularly important and disturbing trend observed by the Monitoring and Documentation Department during the reporting period.
(Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation based in Ramallah, West Bank. Established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the organisation has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. )
8. Reports of soldiers generalised abuse of the Palestinian population
Reported on in the English press by Conal Urquhart Israel shaken by troops’ tales of brutality against Palestinians The Observer, 21 October 2007
Independent Police Complaints Commission reveals why Israeli war crimes suspect Doron Almog escaped arrest on 11 September 2005
On 10th January 2002 Israeli bulldozers under the command of Major General (Reserve) Doron Almog flattened 59 houses in the Rafah refugee camp on the Gaza Strip. On 10 September 2005, Chief London Magistrate Timothy Workman issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of committing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949. The Metropolitan Police failed to execute the warrant and Almog, tipped off about the arrest warrant by Israeli embassy staff, was able to escape.
A report issued on 19th Feb 2008 raises disturbing questions as how this happened. It is commented on here by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.