UN inquiry calls for sanctions against Israel
For the first time, a UN Inquiry has called for sanctions against Israel. The Human Rights Council fact-finding mission released a report on Thursday, urging governments and private corporations across the world to consider economic and political sanctions against Israel over its continued illegal construction and expansion of settlements.
In what the report terms as "Creeping Annexation", about 250 settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established since 1967, accommodating an estimated 520,000 settlers. Most of these are strategically placed, impeding Palestinian access to water resources and agricultural lands. Israel has further built a separation wall, deemed illegal by ICC in 2004; which fractures the West Bank and denies Palestinians free access to their own land.
The report also discusses at length the "price-tag" attacks carried out by extremists in the West Bank against Palestinians or Israeli bodies, in response to Israeli government policies in the settlements which are not deemed to be in the interests of settlers:
"The Mission has noted that the identities of settlers who are responsible for violence and intimidation are known to the Israeli authorities, yet these acts continue with impunity," the report said. "The Mission is led to the clear conclusion that there is institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people when it comes to addressing violence."
"The Mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand."
The following recommendations are made within the report:
- That all states comply with their obligations under international law by recognising and taking action against Israel’s violations of international law.
- Private companies must terminate their business interests and contracts with the settlements and settlers.
- That Israel halts settlement expansion, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and withdraw all settlers from the West Bank.
- That the settlements contravene the 1949 Geneva Conventions forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory, which could amount to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court [ICC].
FOA Chair Ismail Patel said ‘though we welcome the findings and recommendations of this important report, the recommendations made will be rendered meaningless unless decisive action is taken against Israel for violating international law regularly and impudently. We call on the international community to adopt and enforce the recommendations outlined in this report. Failure to do so will highlight a weakness within the international community in upholding international laws, thus allowing Israel free rein to continue its illegal annexation and occupation of Palestinian land.’
Friends of Al-Aqsa