The UN Special Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories In its preliminary observations published today (July 20 2012), drew attention to two areas of immediate concern in the West bank, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes, and violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. The Special Committee concluded that Israel established and maintains a system of permanent oppression.
The committee expressed deep concern over the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli authorities. Witnesses asserted that home demolitions had increased at an alarming rate over the last three years, with 330 homes and other structures demolished in 2012 alone. Since 1967, the report noted, some 26,000 Palestinian structures had been leveled by Israeli occupation authorities.
The committee found that home demolitions aimed chiefly at cleansing the land of its Palestinian population. This year alone, over 500 Palestinians – more than half of them children – had been rendered homeless by Israeli demolitions, the report noted.
“These Israeli practices lead the Special Committee to one over-arching and deeply troubling conclusion,” Ambassador Kohona, Special Committee Chair, underscored. “The routine demolition of homes and the displacement of Palestinians; the widespread violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians; these practices amount to a strategy to either force the Palestinian people off their land or so severely marginalize them as to establish and maintain a system of permanent oppression.”
ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain briefed the Special Committee last week, and presented a statement focusing on illegal Israeli practices of demolition, displacement and land expropriation, and highlighted the impact of prolonged occupation on Palestinians rights to development and national self-determination.
ICAHD called Special Committee members to register grave concern with Israel’s continuing deplorable practices of house demolitions, land expropriation, and its adoption of policies resulting in inadequate housing and living conditions for Palestinians living under prolonged occupation.
The Special Committee was established by UN General Assembly (GA) in 1968 in order to monitor “respect for and implementation of human rights in occupied territories.” The Special Committee reports to the General Assembly on matters related to Israeli settlements, the applicability of international law and the Palestinian right to self-determination. The committee comprises representatives of three member states appointed by the President of the GA. The Special Committee will present a mission report to the UN General Assembly next November, with its observations and recommendations to improve the human rights situation for those whose lives are affected by occupation.
For more information on the ICAHD statement, click here…