UN report: occupation of Palestine ‘unlawful’


The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, on Oct. 20 released its second report, stating there are “reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies.” The commission called for the UN Security Council to bring to an end the “illegal situation resulting from the permanent occupation imposed by Israel” and require Israel to bring “its permanent occupation to an end immediately.”

According to the commission, Israel has “created and is maintaining a complex environment of coercion,” including the demolition of homes and the destruction of property, excessive use of force by security forces, mass incarceration, settler violence, restricted movement through checkpoints on the roads, and limitations on access to livelihood, basic necessities and humanitarian assistance. Such occupation policies violate the right of Palestinians to an adequate standard of living under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 46 of The Hague Regulations and Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The commission reported 398 settler attacks in the West Bank, with 84 attacks resulting in casualties, from January to July 2022. There were 496 attacks during 2021 and 358 attacks in 2020. The commission called special attention to gender-based violations, and stated that the policies implemented by Israel in Palestine have a pervasive discriminatory effect on Palestinian women, and violate the protections of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Commission member Chris Sidoti said:

The actions of Israeli Governments reviewed in our report constitute an illegal occupation and annexation regime that must be addressed. The international system and individual States must act and uphold their obligations under international law. That must begin at this session of the General Assembly with a referral to the International Court of Justice.

The commission recommended three actions: (1) the Israeli government should comply completely with international law and end without any delay its 55-year occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories; (2) the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should prioritize its investigation into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and (3) the UN General Assembly should urgently request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of Israel’s continued refusal to end its occupation of Palestine.

In a press briefing, US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price responded that Israel is “consistently unfairly targeted” by the UN. According to Price, “No country…should be immune from scrutiny, but no country should also be targeted unfairly. And that’s the principle that we seek to uphold.”

In 2021, the UN Human Rights Council held a special session on the “grave human rights situation” in Palestine and East Jerusalem, and adopted a resolution to establish the a special commission of inquiry. The commission released its first report in May.

From Jurist, Oct. 21. Used with permission.

Note: Israel continues to reject the authority of the International Criminal Court to investigate possible violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Photo: RJA1988 via Jurist

  1. Settlers storm town on West Bank

    Jewish settlers stormed through a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank Oct. 20, throwing stones at residents’ cars and using pepper-spray on Israeli troops who were trying to disperse them. The rampage took place near Huwara, near Nablus, where Palestinian youth have launched a local uprising.

    Palestinian militants in the area have carried out several roadside shootings in recent weeks. The area is home to a number of hardline settlements, whose residents often intimidate Palestinians and vandalize their property. (AP)

    The West Bank has seen an “alarming” rise in attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in recent weeks, according to a new report. Haaretz daily reported there had been over 100 cases of nationalistic crimes by Jewish settlers, mostly in the northern West Bank, in the last 10 days. (ToI)

  2. Five Palestinians killed in Nablus raid

    Five Palestinians were killed and some 20 more wounded in clashes as IDF troops raided the purported headquarters of the Lion’s Den militant group in Nablus. (JP, Al Jazeera)

  3. Far right gains power in Israel

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    Likud won 32 seats, while outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid is the second-largest party with 24 seats, followed by the far-right Religious Zionism—headed by Bezalel Smotrich and Kahanist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir—which earned 14 seats. Netanyahu’s likely coalition partners Shas and United Torah Judaism won 11 and seven seats, respectively. 

    Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity won 12 seats, and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman got six seats. Arab-majority parties Hadash-Ta’al and United Arab List each have five seats. Labor, once a ruling party in Israel, is just over the 3.25 percent electoral threshold with four seats. Arab nationalist party Balad and Ayelet Shaked’s Habayit Hayehudi failed to make it into the Knesset. (Haaretz)

    But looming over the right-wing victory is the unfinished business of the State of Israel v. Benjamin Netanyahu, a long-delayed felony corruption case. (NYT)

  4. UN committee approves draft decision referring Israel to ICJ

    The UN Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on Nov. 11 concluded its deliberation for the 76th General Assembly, approving a draft decision to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, on the legal consequences of denying the Palestinian people the right to self-determination. (Jurist)

  5. Twin blasts near Jerusalem bus stops

    Two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem at the height of morning rush hour on Nov. 23, killing a Canadian-Israeli teen and injuring at least 18, in what police said were attacks by Palestinians. Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Israel would track down the attackers. (AP)

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    Violence meanwhile continues to rise on the West Bank. Israeli forces on Nov. 23 demolished a recently-built Palestinian primary school in the village of Isfey al-Fauqa, in the West Banls’ southern Masafer Yatta region. The move came after the Israeli High Court of Justice revoked an interim injunction freezing a demolition order against the school. The military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said the school was built illegally in an area designated as a closed firing zone. (Al Jazeera)

    Also Nov. 23, a 22-year-old man wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in Nablus the previous night succumbed to his wounds. A teenaged Palestinian boy was also killed during the clash, which was sparked when Israeli troops had entered the city to secure a visit of Jewish worshipers to Joseph’s Tomb. (ToI)