In conjunction with the launch of a new report today (Oct 31st), ICAHD submitted three complaints this morning to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestinian Territories. ICAHD demanded to open an investigation into the legality of Israeli policy in East Jerusalem.
The complaints are based on the report, that states that Israel is committing severe violations of international law in East Jerusalem. The report, written by Advocate Emily Schaeffer and edited by Advocate Michael Sfard, analyzes Israeli policy and practice in East Jerusalem under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The report concludes that Israel is perpetrating serious violations of these laws by denying the right to adequate housing, development, and self-determination, as well as violating the prohibition on residency revocation.
Furthermore, the report states that demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is, in the majority of cases, a war crime of destruction of property. By destroying homes, limiting the possibility to build legally, and denying permanent residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israel is forcing the migration process on the basis of ethnicity n which violates international law, and is possibly a war crime.
The report also states that there is evidence that the actions and policies implemented by Israel in East Jerusalem are designed to preserve a demographic balance in the city of a Jewish majority n a motive that is forbidden by international law.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is setting a precedent by turning to the UN. This is the first time that an Israeli organization has requested the opening of an investigation into Israeli practices.
“Seeking justice, we appeal to the international community. UN bodies are better equipped to investigate and rule on Israeli profane policies,” said Itay Epshtain, Co-Director of ICAHD in the press conference this morning. “Unfortunately, the Israeli High Court disregards Palestinians’ human rights, in particular their right to adequate, safe and permanent housing, development and national self-determination.”
Advocate Emily Schaeffer, author of the report, warned about the consequences of Israeli policies. “The Israeli practices toward East Jerusalem have set in motion a process of displacement of the Palestinians from the city, a process which can only be expected to increase should these policies and practices remain”.