Posted on 26th June 2012, by & filed under beit arabiya, Demolitions, human rights council, Itay Epshtain, report, salim Shawamreh, United Nations.

UN Human Rights Council received a report on the recurrent demolition of Beit Arabiya, the home of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh and their seven children in the West Bank town of Anata, illuminating the ongoing displacement of Palestinians living under prolonged occupation.  


The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will convene this coming Monday (June 18th 2012) in Geneva, for its twentieth session. Earlier today, the Council received the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the OPT, Prof. Richard Falk.


The report provides the Council with ample information on the plight of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh, whose home in the West Bank town of Anata (Area C, Occupied Palestinian Territory) was demolished for five times since 1998, and on illegal Israeli practices and the work of ICAHD to counter those.  


“While in Amman, the Special Rapporteur’s delegation met with the leaders of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, a widely respected NGO that has opposed these demolitions as unlawful instances of collective punishment and violations of Palestinian property rights. Also participating in the meeting was a Palestinian resident of the West Bank, Salim Shawamreh, who has had his house demolished on five separate occasions on the grounds that he lacked the proper construction permit, which he had dutifully applied for on numerous occasions without gaining Israel’s permission to build. His case is illustrative of a common Palestinian complaint that their property rights are indirectly usurped through the denial of formal permits and the subsequent issuance and execution of demolition orders, which are often executed in the middle of the night with no advance notice to the inhabitants. For instance, in the case of Mr. Shawamreh, he was given 15 minutes to remove any family belongings or furniture. […] For Palestinians living under occupation in the occupied Palestinian territory, the consequences of this policy of displacement are severe.”  


Special Rapporteur Falk carried on reiterating the findings of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing:


“[…] the actions by Israel of dispossession in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank (as well as towards the Palestinian citizens of Israel itself) amount to a strategy of Judaization. She found that the Israeli authorities promote a territorial development model that excludes, discriminates against and displaces minorities, particularly affecting Palestinian communities, and that such exclusion exists side by side with the accelerated development of Jewish settlements. The Special Rapporteur expanded upon her comment, concluding that as a whole, it is clear that Israeli policies and practices for the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem and the West Bank violate international human rights and humanitarian law.”


The report concludes that the Israeli military occupation that has continued for 45 years requires a special legal regime that takes account of long-term occupation and recommends to the Human Rights Council that “In view of the persistence of occupation for nearly half a century, with no end in sight, the Human Rights Council should commission a study of the adequacy of international humanitarian law to cover the situations caused by prolonged occupation and provide Israel and the international community with appropriate recommendations.”


Later this month, ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain and ICAHD USA Director Salena Tramel will appear before the Council to address illegal Israeli policies and practices, and the impact of prolonged occupation. ICAHD will call the Council to reflect on the legality of a prolonged Israeli occupation, which has outlived the armed conflict that spawned it by 45 years, and with no time limit in sight, and explore the possibility that prolonged and indefinite occupation has morphed into a new type of crime against humanity.


Moreover, ICAHD will ask the Council to recommend to the UN General Assembly to seek an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the legality of Israeli practices arising from prolonged occupation, and legality of prolonged occupation in and of itself. ICAHD firmly holds that the UN General Assembly should call for an ICJ Advisory Opinion that establishes a new normative paradigm of prolonged occupation; reinforces the alienable human rights of the Palestinian people to development and self-determination; and depicts the scope and magnitude of Israel’s illegal policies and practices in the OPT, beyond what are IHL breaches and what was referred to in the 2004 Advisory Opinion; and upholds the legal obligations of all states and international organizations to cooperate to end Israel’s breaches, and prolonged occupation.


On July 1st ICAHD will launch its tenth annual Rebuilding Camp, and with the dedication and solidarity of Palestinian, Israeli, and international volunteers (from across Europe and North America) will rebuild Beit Arabiya.To learn more about the Rebuilding Camp, and to help with our efforts in solidarity with the Palestinian people, [insert hyperlink to donate page]


To read the Special Rapporteur report in its entirety, press here…

To read the ICAHD Statement to the Human Rights Council: “Israeli Illegal Practices and Prolonged Occupation”, press here…