The UN Human Rights Council yesterday morning (July 2nd 2012) held a dialogue with Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on OPT. Prof. Falk, introducing his reports main recommendation that the Human Rights Council should commission a study on the adequacy of international humanitarian law to cover situations of prolonged occupation and provide Israel and the international community with appropriate recommendation, and that the Human Rights Council should give increased attention to Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the normal functioning of the United Nations.
Israel was not present in the room to take the floor. At the end of the meeting, the President of the Human Rights Council, Laura Dupuy Lasserre, called on Israel to resume its cooperation with the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Addressing the Council, ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain stated that Israel’s continued demolitions and expanded settlements were politically motivated, hindered development, and exposed Palestinians to ethnic displacement. Palestinian communities were left ever more isolated and the window of opportunity for a two-State solution had closed. Israel’s occupation could no longer be considered temporary, and its implication for the right to development and self-determination should be addressed and redressed by means of an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the legality of prolonged occupation.
In the general debate, numerous delegations deplored Israel’s non-compliance with standards of international human rights law, and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory. Delegations were concerned by increased settler violence; the decision to expand settlements which was seen as a major obstacle to peace; and measures aimed at altering the legal, geographic and demographic character or status of Jerusalem. The Council was urged to take action and pressure Israel to abide by its obligations and comply with all resolutions
ICAHD further stated that a process of ethnic displacement and Judaization was being witnessed, and was being experienced by Palestinians residing in Area C of the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and concluded that no action on the part of the Council equated Israeli impunity.
Earlier today (Tuesday July 3rd 2012) ICAHD held in conjunction with BADIL and Al-Haq a side event on Israel’s prolonged occupation of the Palestinian people and land. The side event featured Prof. Richard Falk, Ms. Annette Groth (German Parliament Member), Ms. Rania Madi (Legal Advocacy Consultant, BADIL), Ms. Nada Kiswanson (EU advocacy officer, Al-Haq), and ICAHD’s Itay Epshtain. The side event was well attended by state delegations, UN staff, and members of civil society; and explored the nature, features, and impact of prolonged occupation.