Header image for news printout

Human Rights Council discusses human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian and Arab Territories

MORNING

23 March 2015

Hears Update from the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, Holds Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Holds General Debate after Presentation of Reports

The Human Rights Council this morning took up the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and other Occupied Arab Territories, hearing an oral update by the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, holding an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, and hearing the presentation of reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, followed by a general debate.

Mary McGowan Davis, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, in an oral update, said that the Commission was looking at a broad range of alleged violations committed by all parties, and had done its utmost to obtain access to Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; no response to the request for access had been received from Israel. The Commission had requested the Council to extend its mandate as more time was needed to assess the large amount of information. The Commission’s written report would be presented at the twenty-ninth session of the Council in June 2015.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, stressed that the ferocity of destruction and the high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubt over Israel’s adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law. The treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza was a situation of oppression and humiliation of an occupied people, which periodically flared up in ugly escalations of hostilities. He expressed deep concern by frequent reports of excessive use of force by the occupying power in the West Bank, continued settlement construction, and treatment of Palestinians, including children in Israeli detention.

State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, said that Israeli had imposed illegal punishment on Palestinians and had violated the natural human rights to decent life, health and education. Palestinians, including children and women had been killed and wounded; homes, universities, and hospitals had been destroyed. State of Palestine was concerned about the collective punishment and treatment of detainees and requested Israel to respect the law and the human rights of peoples.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights of the State of Palestine said that the Palestinian people continued to live in an ongoing humanitarian crisis resulting from the massive destruction of civilian property and forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel, a concerned country, was not present in the room to take the floor.

In the ensuing interactive dialogue, delegations condemned the brutal, relentless and indiscriminate attacks by Israel in Gaza in July and August 2014 which had caused the death of 2,256 Palestinians, and in which the prime victims were the children, and shared deep concern about the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, including the arrest and prosecution of nearly 8,000 Palestinian children by the Israeli military Court. Seven years of the illegal blockade and the brutal attacks caused Palestinians in Gaza to live in a constant state of humanitarian crisis, and it was questionable whether Gaza would be a liveable place by 2020; the international community must take this horrifying fact into consideration. Speakers stressed the need to address daily human rights violations and ensure accountability for the systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, and called for a stronger action against Israel to put an end to its atrocities in Gaza and other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Speaking in the discussion were Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Algeria on behalf of the African Group, the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Oman, Cuba, Jordan Tunisia, Syria, Namibia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Brazil, Bolivia, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Maldives, Niger, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Turkey.

Also speaking were the non-governmental organizations: United Nations Watch, Defence for Children International (joint statement), World Jewish Congress, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, ADALAH-Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (joint statement), International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, American Association of Jurists, and Amuta for NGO Responsibility.

The Council then heard a presentation by Flavia Pansieri, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, who presented six reports by the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, concerning the human rights situation in Palestine and the other occupied Arab territories. These reports highlighted the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements as the centre of many of the ongoing human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and said they undermined the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; the continued failure to adequately address violence by settlers which fostered a climate of impunity; the excessive use of force in law enforcement operations by Israeli security forces; the events between 12 June and 26 August 2014 which raised serious questions regarding the respect by Israel of its obligations under international humanitarian law; Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza which had crippled reconstruction and development; and the need for accountability which was essential to break the cycle of violence. They also stressed concern regarding ill-treatment and arbitrary detention by Palestinian security agencies and confirmed that the actions of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza also constituted violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Speaking as a concerned country, the State of Palestine welcomed the report of the High Commissioner, informing that it had already started implementing the necessary steps, and thanking all States for their pledges made during the Cairo Conference for the reconstruction of Gaza. The Israeli occupying forces persisted in the violations of the rights of the Palestinian people through arrests, executions, destruction of homes, confiscation of land, establishment of illegal settlements, curtailing the freedom of movement and targeting civilians. Israel had to be held accountable for the committed violations, including through the involvement of the International Criminal Court.

Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said the continuing occupation and human rights violations by Israel proved how important it was for the Council to address the situation. Syria condemned the double standard policy by some members of the Council regarding the situation in the Occupied Territories, stating that it was unacceptable that some States called on the Council to end its work in this regard. Syria called for the release of arbitrarily detained persons and condemned the support provided by Israel to terrorist groups in Syria. It regretted that certain Arab countries had diverted their attention from the Arab-Israeli conflict to make some politicized criticisms of Syria.

Israel, a concerned country, was not present in the room to take the floor.

In the ensuing discussion, delegations condemned in the strongest terms the widespread systematic violations of international law as a result of the Israeli military aggression, regretting that some States referred to it as legitimate self-defence. Delegations called for the end of impunity and for accountability by the Israeli State, as well as for the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the granting of jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court. They urged a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian situation on the basis of a two-State solution and the indivisibility of the Palestinian territory, reiterating the importance of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. They strongly condemned the illegal settlements on Palestinian territories, the slaughter of innocent Palestinians, the violence by settlers, and the blockade on Gaza. They also expressed concern regarding the illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan. Many States also voiced their dismay regarding the boycott that the European Union and other countries had placed on Agenda Item 7, which was an encouragement for Israel to continue the siege.

Speaking in the discussion were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Algeria on behalf of the African Group, Ireland, Maldives, Namibia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China, Algeria, South Africa, Qatar, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Russian Federation, Morocco, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tunisia, Ecuador, Senegal, Sudan, Kuwait, Chile, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Malaysia, Lebanon, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Malta, Sweden, Luxembourg, Uruguay, Iraq, Djibouti, and Egypt.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Arab Organization for Human Rights, Norwegian Refugee Council, United Nations Watch, World Jewish Congress, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, the International Federation of Journalists, Institute for Women’s Studies and Research, Union of Arab Jurists, Human Rights Watch, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, and International Federation of Human Rights.

The Council will meet next at 2:30 p.m. to hold a general debate on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

Presentation by the Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict

MARY MCGOWAN DAVIS, Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, noted that the Commission was tasked to investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014. It was tasked to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and the crimes perpetrated, to identify those responsible, and to make recommendations and accountability measures in order to avoid and end impunity. The Commission was looking at a broad range of alleged violations committed by all parties. It had done its utmost to obtain access to Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to meet with the authorities in those places. The Commission wrote to the Government of Israel in October and November 2014 requesting access, and then again in January and February 2015, but it had not received any response. Egypt had indicated it was ready to facilitate the travel to Gaza as soon as the security situation permitted travel. In addition, the Government of Jordan had facilitated two missions, in November 2014 and January 2015, to Amman to meet witnesses and officials from the region. The Commission had used technology to interview a wide spectrum of witnesses and victims in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Many witnesses and non-governmental organizations had also travelled to Geneva to testify before the Commission. A large number of submissions had also been received from individuals, and from international human rights groups and United Nations agencies. On 9 March 2015 the Commission asked the Human Rights Council to extend its mandate until June 2015, as more time was needed to assess the large amount of information. The Commission assured the victims and witnesses that they remained committed to the process and to do justice to their submissions.


Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono (A/HRC/28/78)

Presentation by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967

MAKARIM WIBISONO, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, said that the report conveyed snapshots of the human stories of Palestinians caught in this protracted conflict. Hundreds of children had paid the ultimate price for this conflict, in Palestine and in Israel, and it was estimated that 400,000 children in Gaza were in need of psychological support. This generation and coming generations of Palestinians and Israelis had equal rights to life, self-determination and a future in peace. The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubt over Israel’s adherence to the international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack. It would however be shameful to dismiss the loss of innocent lives of women, men and children as collateral damage; they were victims of a continuing conflict, and Palestinians, Israelis and the international community had a responsibility to move towards peace and end the violence. Last month, 30 international aid agencies had issued a joint statement warning that a return to hostilities was inevitable if the root causes of the conflict were not addressed. Much more was needed to ensure reconstruction in Gaza, but the people there only saw a trickle of the over $ 5 billion so generously pledged in Cairo last October.

The lack of respect for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories permeated almost every aspect of the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It was a situation of oppression and humiliation of an occupied people, which periodically flared up in ugly escalations of hostilities. The Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern by frequent reports of excessive use of force by the occupying power in the West Bank; detention and ill treatment; Israeli plans which threatened forcible transfer of thousands of Bedouins and herders; and settlement construction and the Wall which continued to cut through the Palestinian landscape and divide the Palestinian society. Treatment of Palestinians, including children in Israeli detention, was an issue of grave concern, and Israel had done too little to follow up on the report by the United Nations Children’s Fund which two years ago had concluded that the ill-treatment of children in the military detention system appeared to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized. It was regrettable that Israel had not yet granted access to the Special Rapporteur and it was hoped that the new Government would show its commitment to human rights and agree to a visit, because without access the effectiveness of the mandate would be negatively impacted. During his mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territories last September, the Special Rapporteur had heard three demands from the victims and witnesses, which were the need for accountability, the end of the blockade and an end to the occupation. Their voices must be heard. Peace started with respect for human rights.

Statement by the Concerned Country

State of Palestine said that Israel had refused to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and had not granted access to it nor to any other human rights body. Israeli policies reflected a deliberate decision to avoid cooperation and constituted systematic violations of human rights. Human rights conventions to which Israel had adhered to had not been respected. Israel had imposed illegal punishments on Palestinians and had violated the natural human rights to decent life, health and education. Palestinians, including children and women, had been killed and wounded. Homes had been destroyed as well as universities, hospitals and health centres. People had been displaced and they faced shortcuts of drinking water and constant power cuts. The State of Palestine was concerned about the collective punishments, dismantling of property and the measures taken by Israeli forces against detainees. Israel had to respect the law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Palestinians Independent Commission for Human Rights emphasized that the root cause of the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was the military Israeli occupation since 1967, its systematic violations of human rights, and the discriminatory policies against Palestinians. They were concerned about the Commission’s request of extension to submit its final report since that could delay the fulfilment of justice for victims and for holding perpetrators accountable for their war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians Independent Commission had informed that the Palestinian people continued to live in an ongoing humanitarian crisis resulting from the massive destruction of civilian property and forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian TerritoriesOccupied since 1967

Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said they were deeply appalled by the lack of cooperation by Israel, which was a violation of the legal obligations of Member States in the United Nations. Israel continued its flagrant violations of human rights, such as the use of excessive force, seizure of land, destruction of homes, and displacement of more than half a million Palestinians. It called on the Government of Israel to lift the land and marine blockade of Gaza, to open border crossings, and to stop the building of illegal settlements.

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, strongly condemned the systematic and serious violations of human rights as a result of the Israeli military aggression, which had caused massive human devastation and thousands of lives lost. Some 69 per cent of the Palestinians killed were civilians, which called into question Israel’s adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law and this required adequate response by the international rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council.

European Union underlined the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial efforts towards peace, and it remained gravely concerned about the continuing tensions and violence on the ground. It reiterated its reservation regarding the mandate of the Commission, which was limited to “investigate Israel’s violations” only, noting that all alleged violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory should be subject to scrutiny and investigated in line with international standards. Israel was urged to grant access to the Special Rapporteur without delay.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that last summer the international community had witnessed a most brutal criminal military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip. It was questionable whether Gaza would be a liveable place by 2020, and this horrifying fact must be taken into consideration by the international community. The Organization stressed the need to address daily human rights violations and ensure accountability for the systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the occupying power.

Qatar said that every day, Israeli forces and extremists were violating the rights of Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, and agreed that the destruction in Gaza was a cause for shame for the international community. There was not much progress in the reconstruction of Gaza and Qatar called upon all to respect the commitments entered into in the Cairo Conference. Qatar had pledged $ 1.5 billion for the reconstruction in Gaza, including for the construction of housing units.

Oman agreed with the long list of concerns expressed by the Special Rapporteur which indicated systemic violations by the occupying power in Gaza. Children were the prime victims of the latest aggression of Gaza, which also saw massive destruction of homes and schools, and even hospitals had come under attack. Palestinians in Gaza lived in an open prison. The international community should put pressure on Israel to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and implement the recommendations.

Cuba regretted that Israel had not cooperated with the Special Rapporteur and had ignored the resolutions of the Council and that hundreds of Palestinians, including children, had been killed and many others wounded in the attacks of summer 2014. Cuba asked what measures could be taken to stop the systematic violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories and regarding the impunity of Israel?

Jordan was deeply concerned about the situation in the Occupied Territories and the fact that these lands had been blocked by Israel. It deplored that killings had happened and that Israel had not cooperated with the mandate holders. The violations of human rights committed by Israel were condemned, in particular the crimes against children. Jordan said that Israel should offer adequate compensation to the victims and called on the international community to help finding a solution for the two States.

Tunisia strongly deplored the failure of the occupying power to comply with its international obligations and its lack of cooperation with the Special Rapporteur. It expressed its deep concern about the systematic violations of human rights, in particular the crimes committed against children, all of which were contrary to the Geneva Conventions. It stressed the need to end impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes.

Syria said that Israel had violated human rights laws for decades and continued to perpetrate massacres against innocent civilians. Those violations constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity. Syria did not understand why certain States protected Israeli officials and ignored their war crimes. International sanctions should be imposed on Israel, and justice for Palestinians would be to grant them an independent State.

Namibia reminded that Israel had persisted with its policy of occupation, apartheid and colonization, ignoring its international obligations and refusing to cooperate with the United Nations mechanisms. The international community had to demand that the occupying power cease immediately and completely all of its illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem.

Bahrain expressed anger at Israel’s lack of cooperation with the Special Rapporteur. The international community had witnessed one of the most serious violations by the occupying power, leading to thousands of deaths, including of children. Only a partial account of the suffering of the Palestinian people had been heard. The situation in the West Bank was not any better than the Gaza Strip.

Indonesia was deeply shocked by the continuation of blatant human rights violations by the Israeli occupying forces and strongly condemned the excessive and disproportionate military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip in July and August 2014. Indonesia shared the deep concern about the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, including the arrest and prosecution of nearly 8,000 Palestinian children by the Israeli Military Court.

Kuwait condemned the systematic violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions by Israel and said that it was high time to put this situation to an end, otherwise, the effectiveness and the credibility of this Council would be undermined. Kuwait respected the commitment it had made in the Cairo Conference.

Malaysia said that the brutal, relentless and indiscriminate attacks by Israel on Gaza had caused the death of 2,256 Palestinians, including 1,563 civilians. It was deplorable that the Palestinians continued to suffer the brunt of occupation policies and practices of Israel, which continued to deny the right of Palestinians to live in dignity. Israel must end its flagrant acts of brutality and stop ignoring the will of the international community, which should ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international law.

Brazil stated that there were no victors but only victims in the Gaza conflict. Israelis did not feel safer, fear still permeated the region, reconciliation was a distant promise and durable peace remained elusive. The current situation was neither sustainable nor acceptable. Israel and Palestine should promptly resume peace negotiations aimed at reaching a just and lasting solution to the conflict, based on the 1967 borders and in accordance with international law.

Bolivia reiterated its condemnation of the systematic violations committed by the occupying power since 1967 against the Palestinian people. One of the worst violations had been the one that took place recently and had killed hundreds of Palestinians, including children. Bolivia welcomed the adhesion of Palestine to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and hoped that the Court would rule against the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

Iran stated that the international community had witnessed with horror more than 50 days of criminal military aggression, which had caused massive human devastation with thousands of perished lives, thousands of injured and widespread physical destruction throughout Gaza. Iran condemned the brutal violations of every law as well as the long occupation of all Occupied Palestinian Territories and the escalating settlement construction throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Lebanon noted that Israel’s failure to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur was not surprising given its long history of human rights violations, as well as the violation of its international obligations towards the United Nations. Israel had violated the rights of the child. In the latest attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel had targeted civilians in schools, hospitals and religious sites.

Sudan condemned the lack of cooperation by Israel and its massive violations of human rights in the latest attacks on the Gaza Strip. Israel continued to strengthen its blockade and isolation of Palestinians, which clearly flouted United Nations resolutions and international laws. Sudan supported Palestinians’ rights to self-determination, and said Israel had to be brought to accountability.

Egypt said it was prepared to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, adding that Israel’s refusal to cooperate constituted a violation of its international obligations. More than one million people had lost their homes in the attacks on the Gaza Strip and there was a need to rebuild Gaza. Egypt expressed concern about some 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, as well as about the illegal building of Israeli settlements.

Maldives said that the large number of people whose houses had been destroyed in the latest attack still had no homes due to the lack of available construction materials and called on Israel to allow the delivery of construction materials, including cement, as per the Gaza construction mechanism brokered by the United Nations. The blockade had deteriorated the general well-being of the Palestinian people and it was disheartening that Israel continued to maintain it.

Niger expressed its deep concern in light of the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in the Gaza Strip, and said that the continuing blockade was a violation of international law as it represented collective punishment. Niger expressed its solidarity with the people of Palestine and appealed to the international community to support all the initiatives aiming to bring peace to the region.

Mauritania condemned the continuing occupation by Israel and said that the international community should ensure that international law no longer remained empty words. Mauritania condemned the barbaric aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip which had led to the killing of hundreds of children and the destruction of nearly 8,000 homes, and the use of hunger against the Palestinian people.

Morocco welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur, adding that Israel’s refusal to cooperate with him did not prevent him from showing the suffering of the Palestinian people. Palestinian children continued to be deprived of their human rights, and Morocco called on the international community to follow up on that situation and to hold Israel accountable. It called on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza so that humanitarian aid could be brought in.

Algeria condemned the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories and supported the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur that the Israeli blockade of Gaza be lifted. Israeli practices constituted flagrant violations of humanitarian law. Algeria called on the international community to show a much more resolute reaction to Israeli actions, and to put an end to the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestine.

Bangladesh condemned the continued gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories perpetrated by Israel. The blockade of Gaza had furthered the existing poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and health problems in the region. Palestinian civilians, often children, who posed no serious threat to Israel’s security forces, were deliberately shot and injured.

Saudi Arabia thanked the Special Rapporteur for his work and his recommendations and denounced Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and for showing contempt for the Council by not attending this meeting. How long would Israel be allowed to commit human rights violations? Double standards applied by some States in the Council gave the green light to the occupying power to commit crimes. Israel should be called to accountability by the international community.

Venezuela said the new report shed light to the human rights violations committed by the occupying power against the Palestinian people, including the latest brutal attack on Gaza. Criminal responsibility of those responsible for the aggression must be established. Seven years of the illegal blockade and the brutal attacks had left Palestinians in Gaza living in a constant state of humanitarian crisis. All had the responsibility to request Israel to lift the blockade and stop the impunity which had gone on for long enough.

Turkey appreciated the emphasis in the report on the devastating impact of Israel’s attacks and said that all must reject the occupation that undermined fundamental rights and freedoms. The international community was showing its frustration with the continued situation of occupation by increasingly recognizing the State of Palestine.

UN Watch stated that the report only focused on one side and not on the concerns of all human rights, including all the victims of this conflict. The title of the report was misleading since only Israel was presumed to be guilty. Palestinian people had not been treated equally by Hamas and Israelis had not been treated equally either. All those issues should not be ignored as all human beings were equal.

Defence for Children International in a joint statement with ADALAH - Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, stated that several children had been killed, tortured, displaced and orphaned in the repeated offenses and the prolongation of the Israeli occupation. Defence for Children International said Israel should be put on the list of countries that had committed serious crimes against children.

World Jewish Congress said that seven different reports that had Israel in common reflected a challenge regarding the proliferation of mandates. That was an utter waste of resources which produced antagonism and a cynical abuse of the Council’s mandate for political ends, undermining the values that the Council was aimed to promote. The Council should also refer to the safe refuge the Golan had provided to Syrian refugees.

International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists expressed dismay regarding the Special Rapporteur’s report, noting that no change or amelioration in the procedure, content and outcomes was seen. It was flawed and legally obscured. It was also astonishing that there was a failure to address the human rights violations by other actors in the area, mainly the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

ADALAH - Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel in a joint statement with Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Defence for Children International, and Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, noted that the entrenched inequality, prolonged military occupation and impunity were the root causes of recurring violence and injustice in the Palestinian territories. Israel denied domestic accountability for Palestinian victims, and the international community had a responsibility to challenge that impunity.

International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations welcomed the report, noting that it demonstrated the importance of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. It supported all his recommendations, in particular the recommendation that Israel stop all violations of children’s rights. Pressure should be placed on Israel to respect human rights of the Palestinian people.

American Association of Jurists deeply regretted that Israel had failed to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. The Gaza Strip had become a concentration camp. The long standing and consistent lack of cooperation of Israel with the Special Rapporteur called for a new approach. It called on the Human Rights Council to recommend the involvement of the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, and to recommend that the General Assembly take appropriate sanctions against Israel.

Amuta for NGO Responsibility said that Palestinians continued to use and exploit children as weapons of war and targeted Israeli kindergartens and schools with their rockets. Palestinians had undertaken suicide bombing of buses, weddings and bar mitzvahs to cause as many casualties as possible, and deliberately placed children at risk by storing weapons in schools, kindergartens and mosques.

Concluding Remarks

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, regretted in concluding remarks that the occupying power had refused to participate in the debate. The State of Palestine was surprised that the European Union had called for this issue to be discussed under item 4 of the agenda of the Council, in contradiction with its rules of procedure.

MAKARIM WIBISONO, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, said the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was not acceptable, and underlined that there was no military solution to the conflict. Accountability for violations of international law, and the end of the occupation and of the blockade in Gaza were prerequisites for peace and for the promotion and protection of human rights everywhere. He would continue to seek access to Gaza and cooperation by Israel, and appealed to the Council to help him in this regard.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian People throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/28/43)

The Council has before it a corrigendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian People throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/28/43/Corr.1)

The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/28/44)

The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on the Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/28/45)

The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on the human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/28/46)

The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1 (A/HRC/28/80)

The Council has before it an addendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1 - The human rights situation between 12 June and 26 August 2014 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the escalation in hostilities between the State of Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza (A/HRC/28/80/Add.1)

Presentation of the Reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and by the Secretary-General

FLAVIA PANSIERI, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced six reports under agenda item seven concerning the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The High Commissioner’s seventh periodic report was on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as alleged violations of international law related to the events that occurred between 12 June and 26 August 2014 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It also reported on the implementation of the recommendations of the independent international fact finding mission on the impact of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people. It reflected submissions received from Member States, and addressed continued Israeli settlement activity; settler violence and lack of accountability; the situation of Palestinian detainees, including children in Israeli custody; and the issue of business and human rights in relation to the settlements. The High Commissioner also presented three reports of the Secretary-General. The first was on the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem and Syrian Golan, and analysed the difficulties faced by Palestinians in accessing their agricultural land, the impact of settlements on their enjoyment of specific rights, and the lack of law enforcement and accountability for settler violence. It also addressed issues related to settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan, including exploitation of natural resources. The Secretary-General’s report on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, analysed how the conflict was driven by violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, alongside abuses of human rights by multiple actors.

Outlining the key points contained in the reports, the High Commissioner highlighted the establishment and expansion of settlements in the context of the Israeli military occupation which were at the centre of many of the ongoing human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and which fragmented the Palestinian landscape and limited freedom. They also undermined the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which was at the heart of the two-State solution. The continued failure to adequately address violence by settlers was of further concern, and fostered a climate of impunity. The excessive use of force in law enforcement operations by Israeli security forces was another concern. The situation in Gaza was alarming. The events between 12 June and 26 August 2014 constituted the third escalation of hostilities in seven years and raised serious questions regarding the respect by Israel of its obligations under international humanitarian law to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives, and its obligation to ensure that attacks were proportionate and to maintain the principles of distinction and precaution. The actions of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza also constituted clear violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza had crippled reconstruction and development, leading to a further and daily deterioration of economic and social rights. The blockade and related restrictions had to be lifted. The international community had to meet its commitments and pledges with regard to Gaza’s reconstruction made at the Cairo Conference. Accountability was essential to break the cycle of violence. Investigations carried out by Israel should not be limited to a few selected incidents, and needed to address failures to ensure the respect for international law at the policy level. In light of persistent impunity regarding past operations, doubts persisted about the Israeli authorities’ willingness to ensure accountability. Finally, there was concern about ill-treatment and arbitrary detention by Palestinian security agencies. Palestine’s accession to several international treaties offered an opportunity for Palestinian duty-bearers to address human rights concerns.

Statements by the Concerned Countries

State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, welcomed the report of the High Commissioner on agenda item seven, informing that the Palestine Authority had already started implementing the necessary steps. Israel had been committing the most flagrant violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories, and the situation had remained such for 47 years. The occupying forces persisted in the violations of the rights of the Palestinian people through arrests, executions, destruction of homes, confiscation of land, establishment of illegal settlements, curtailing of the freedom of movement and targeting of civilians. The State of Palestine expressed gratitude to all States that had participated in the Cairo Conference for the rebuilding of Gaza. Israel must be held accountable for the committed violations, including through the involvement of the International Criminal Court. The State of Palestine said the Wall constructed by Israel violated international conventions, and condemned the displacement of the Bedouin people in order to construct illegal settlements. The State of Palestine noted that it would never give up the idea of global peace.

Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said the continuing occupation and human rights violations by Israel proved how important it was for the Council to address the situation. As Israel continued its accelerating aggressions, Syria condemned the double standards policy by some members of the Council regarding the situation in the Occupied Territories, and said it was unacceptable that some States called on the Council to end its work relating to the situation in the Occupied Territories. New crimes were recently registered by the authorities, including arbitrary detentions by Israel. Syria called for the release of arbitrarily detained persons from the Occupied Golan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Syria also condemned the support provided by Israel to terrorist groups in Syria, including direct military support. It regretted that certain Arab countries had diverted their attention from the Arab-Israeli conflict to make some politicized criticisms of Syria.

General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, recalled Israel’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, and regretted that some States referred to such acts as legitimate self-defence. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation regretted that Israel had not cooperated with the Commission of Inquiry, and called for accountability. It reiterated the importance of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. It condemned illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, and was concerned about the continued illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan, which had resulted in violations of the economic, social and cultural rights of the Syrian people.

Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned in the strongest terms the widespread systematic violations of international law as a result of the Israeli criminal military aggression, which had caused massive human devastation with thousands of perished lives and thousands injured, the majority of whom were women and children. The Non-Aligned Movement also condemned Israeli measures in the Occupied Syrian Golan and emphasized the need to put an end to the illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan

Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, welcomed the statement made by the Deputy High Commissioner and expressed its dismay that the European Union and other countries had boycotted agenda item seven on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories. Attempts to marginalize and eliminate it from the agenda encouraged Israel to continue to violate international law and promote impunity. Israel must stop all violations of international law.

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, reaffirmed its unequivocal support to the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people towards self-determination and statehood, including respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The slaughter of innocent Palestinians had reached unacceptable proportions. Since the occupation there had been grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel. The African Group reaffirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Ireland stressed that all abuses and violations of human rights by any party should be open to scrutiny in the debate and throughout the work of the Human Rights Council. It was deeply concerned about the continuing illegal construction by Israel of settlements on Palestinian land, which involved dispossession, exclusion and movement restrictions on the Palestinian people. It expressed regret that no significant progress had been made on easing the closure of the Gaza Strip.

Maldives strongly condemned the atrocities committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly in Gaza, and called on Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza and to ensure that the basic human rights of the Palestinian people were respected. It was concerned about the decreasing number of voices under agenda item seven, in spite of systemic and widespread human rights violations committed by Israel. Israel should immediately stop its illegal expansion of settlements and dismantle the separation wall.

Namibia said that for too long the Palestinian people had suffered violations. The question of Palestine remained unresolved. The Palestinian people should exercise their right to peace and self-determination, and it was their inalienable right to enjoy all human rights. Namibia reiterated its support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, and called on the international community to assist the Palestinian people in gaining their statehood.

Cuba said the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories should be given priority by the Council, and insisted that the resolutions of the Council be implemented. Israel’s policy of occupation was shameful. Arbitrary detentions, violations of international humanitarian laws and violence against children continued to happen. Cuba condemned the occupation and illegal settlements, the separation wall, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and segregation policies, which all had to stop.

Saudi Arabia condemned that some countries continued to call for the deletion of agenda item seven on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. It condemned the systematic oppression policy by Israel. Collective punishment continued and houses continued to be destroyed. These violations were amplified by continuing illegal settlements. A comprehensive peace process could not be implemented without the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

China said it paid great attention to the Palestinian issue, noting that it had worked to bring peace to the Middle East. China supported the just cause of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their independent State within the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. Noting that currently the Middle East peace process was in stalemate, it underlined that there was a need to get back on track with peace negotiations.

Algeria reiterated its support for the just cause of the Palestinian people who still lived under the colonial rule of Israel. Palestinians were living under the illegal and inhumane siege of the occupying Israeli forces, which continued to attack civilians and destroy buildings and infrastructure. The silence of a certain number of States was an encouragement for Israel to continue the siege. The international community should put an end to the Israeli occupation and ensure that those responsible for the committed crimes were held responsible.

South Africa expressed grave concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It condemned the recent statements by Israeli leaders, which rejected the right of Palestinians to self-determination and statehood. Such ill-conceived political statements could only fuel the already heightened tensions between the two States and the broader region.

Qatar said Israel was committing the worst forms of human rights violations without being held accountable by the international community, putting to the test the credibility of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security. The continued occupation by Israel of Arab lands was the main cause for instability in the region. The fact that the Prime Minister of Israel had recently refused the two-State solution showed that Israel was not committed to engage openly in negotiations.

Venezuela reiterated the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and underlined its attachment to a State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. Demolition of housing, torture, arbitrary detention and destruction of the economy in general continued, and Palestinian people continued to suffer from the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was illegal under international law. It was the responsibility of the international community to adopt new measures to prevent Israel from committing additional human rights violations.

United Arab Emirates expressed concern about gross violations committed by Israel, as confirmed by reports by international experts and non-governmental organizations. Despite these reports, Israel continued its violence and aggression against the Palestinian people without accountability. Israel’s policies changed the geographical structure of occupied lands, while the international community remained silent. The United Arab Emirates supported the peace process, and encouraged Palestine to continue adhering to international conventions until the end of the occupation.

Russian Federation continued to be in favour of a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian situation on the basis of a two-State solution. It supported the indivisibility of the Palestinian territory and opposed unilateral actions by Israel, such as the blockade of the Gaza Strip, construction of illegal settlements, and eviction of people from their land. It supported the adhesion of the State of Palestine to several international conventions and mechanisms, noting that the international community should make a greater effort to resolve the existing status quo and support the Israeli-Palestine negotiation process.

Morocco said that the reports submitted confirmed the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to continued human rights violations. The siege of the Gaza Strip had had a devastating effect on the lives of the Palestinian people. The illegal expansion of Israeli settlements was one of the main causes for the suffering of the Palestinian people. Morocco objected to the annexation of land and said attempts to change the demographic structure of Jerusalem undermined the Palestinian rights.

Bangladesh said that agenda item seven was one of the most important items in the work of the Council. It was appalling to see the blatant disregard for human rights by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which targeted civilians in the name of self-defence. The situation was grave and amounted to an act of apartheid. The Palestinian people were discriminated against through the imposition of the separation wall and separate laws that were applied to them.

Indonesia had continuously called for this agenda item general debate with a view to urgently address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and other occupied Arab Territories which were already dire due to the blockade. Aggression had deepened the humanitarian crisis in Gaza further. The blockade which had entered its eighth consecutive year was a collective punishment imposed on the whole population of Gaza.

Tunisia renewed its solidarity with the 5,000 Palestinian men and women who were in Israeli prisons and camps and called upon the international community put pressure on Israel to end their suffering and provide them with international protection. The occupation and blockade stressed the need for immediate action. Israel needed to cooperate, end impunity, and stop further violations of international law. In this respect, a referral to the International Criminal Court was necessary.

Ecuador stated that the situation in Palestine and all Arab occupied territories remained critical. After six decades of conflict, reproducing weak and ambiguous recommendations was insufficient to curb violations of international law. This was why clear messages were needed to oblige Israel to abide by international law. While systematic violations continued, it was the responsibility of the Human Rights Council to deal with this question which had taken the lives of thousands of victims.

Senegal remained extremely concerned by the worsening of the political, security and humanitarian situation in Palestine. The ongoing settlement policy in East Jerusalem showed that Israel was regrettably seeking to modify the cultural heritage of the place. Senegal welcomed initiatives that allowed dialogue between the two parties, including mediation efforts by Egypt to reach a ceasefire. Senegal called on the international community to put an end to human rights violations by Israel.

Sudan expressed its indignation about human rights and humanitarian law violations as a result of the Israeli occupation. Sudan condemned the destruction of schools and other United Nations facilities by Israel during the Gaza conflict. Sudan was concerned about the segregation policy by Israel which was illegal under international law. It underlined the importance of agenda item seven on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

Kuwait condemned attacks and restrictions of access to mosques by Israel. Kuwait also condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip as a collective punishment. The international community should take serious initiatives to put an end to the conflict and to the violations of the rights of Palestinian people.

Chile expressed its deep concern about the increasing militarization of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the attacks that had been perpetrated against the Palestinian people. The killing of civilians, confiscation of lands, destruction of housing and the changing of the geographic configuration of the Palestinian Territories were also condemned. Chile called for a dialogue which could facilitate the negotiations in this particular area.

Libya said that Israel’s continuing occupancy policies and measures adopted constituted systematic violations of human rights as well as a disregard of international conventions. Israel had also ignored the ruling of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of settlements in the Occupied Territories. The systematic killing, destruction of houses and the policies towards Jerusalem were viewed as a threat to peace and security.

Bahrain deplored the decision of the European Union and other countries to boycott agenda item seven which could be seen as an encouragement for Israel to continue its violation of international law and to continue with its impunity. The illegal practices and settlements of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories were in violation of the Rome Statute as were the gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Palestinian people.

Jordan said that Israel, the occupying power, continued to perpetuate human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in addition to denying the right of the Palestinian people to their own State. The Judaisation of East Jerusalem, the destruction of homes and the withdrawal of identity cards from Arabs were in violation of Israel’s international obligations, including the commitment to protect holy places in Jerusalem.

Yemen said that agenda item seven was more necessary than ever as it enabled the Council to study the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which continued to worsen. This item must be kept on the agenda of the Council until Israel put an end of the violations it was committing and ended the occupation. Yemen called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Oman called upon the occupying power to pay respect to international conventions and to put an end to the aggression, including violence by Israeli settlers. The Council needed to keep this item on its agenda, and the international community should put pressure on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza, and to stop the construction of settlements and the separation wall.

Malaysia said the Palestinian people had suffered for far too long, and regretted the lack of accountability for violations by Israel. The suffering of the Palestinian people merited an open item on the agenda of the Council. Changing this would constitute double standards. Malaysia called for the international community to work towards putting an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Lebanon said this issue deserved to remain an open item on the agenda, and regretted that some States had decided to boycott the debate, which constituted double standards. Lebanon described human rights violations resulting from Israel’s settlement policies. It regretted that Israel had ignored all resolutions against it, and refused to cooperate with human rights mechanisms. Lebanon condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Slovenia said a sustainable peace had to be based on international law and accountability. Slovenia strongly condemned targeting of civilians by both sides. Slovenia expressed concern about the continued building of settlements by Israel in the West Bank and called on Israel to cooperate with the mandate holders. Slovenia reiterated its position in favour of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Sri Lanka noted that grave concerns had been expressed in the reports on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The people of Palestine had endured the occupation for long years. Their rights to statehood, a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, co-existing alongside Israel peacefully with security, should remain at the core of any pragmatic, lasting solution to their problems.

Nicaragua said that the fight for freedom and self-determination of Palestinian people had to be supported by the international community. It regretted the lack of political will of Israel to put an end to decades of occupation. It requested the international community to help for the achievement of lasting peace and to support the end of the conflict.

Malta recognized the efforts taken by both sides to end the conflict and regretted that the general living conditions in Gaza had deteriorated dramatically, while those of Palestinians living in the West Bank had not improved. It condemned in the strongest terms all forms of violence. Malta recommended that the perpetrators of human rights violations from both sides be brought to justice and called on all sides to realise that the only way towards peace was through dialogue and reconciliation.

Sweden said that 2014 had seen unparalleled expansion of Israeli settlements, numerous unlawful demolitions of Palestinian homes, land confiscation and threats of forcible transfer and resettlement of Palestinian civilians. The status quo meant that the two-State solution slowly risked fading away through the continuous deterioration of the situation on the ground in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and could fuel violence in Israel and Palestine and the wider Middle East.

Luxembourg agreed that ongoing human rights violations were being committed by all parties concerned, adding that the ongoing blockade of Gaza remained unjustified and unacceptable. The pace of settlement building was an issue of concern; it was in violation of international law and a real threat to peace. Luxembourg said that the time had come to take bold steps to implement the two State solution.

Uruguay said that the conflict in Gaza had had a disproportionate impact on children and called on all parties to fully uphold international human rights and humanitarian law and reiterated the need for a peaceful solution to the conflict. Parties must comply with their international obligations, particularly to ensure accountability for all violations committed.

Iraq reiterated its solidarity with the Palestinian people and all those suffering from Israeli occupation. Iraq condemned the indiscriminate use of force and the policy of discrimination by Israel. The policy of expropriation of lands in the occupied Palestinian territories was a flagrant violation of international law. The situation merited that this item be maintained on the agenda.

Djibouti said reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner did not cover all violations, but contained enough information which the international community should act upon. A collective action by the international community was urgently required to unlock the situation of continued violations and impunity.

Egypt said no single people in the world had suffered more than the Palestinian people. Addressing this situation remained highly relevant for the Council, and boycotting the debates was a clear demonstration of double standards and disregard for the suffering of the Palestinian people. Israel was continuing its occupation and violation of the rights of the populations in these territories.

Arab Organization for Human Rights stated that Israel continued to enjoy impunity. It called on the international community to work in order to put an end to the conflict, especially regarding the crimes committed due to the occupation. The international community had the responsibility to defend Palestinian people and to provide for an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Norwegian Refugee Council said that at least 275,000 Palestinians had been displaced. Unlike other instances of displacement across the region, those mechanisms did not track the physical movements of internally displaced people or monitored them at the location of refuge. Displacement in the West Bank was the result of a slow but inexorable process of dispossession of Palestinian land linked to the expansion of Israeli settlements and territorial control.

United Nations Watch said that discussions had ignored gross violations of human rights committed by other countries. Israel had been accused of targeting Palestinian people while other crimes had been committed by Hamas and also against Israeli people.
Likewise, anti-Israeli publications had been issued. United Nations Watch requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate this breach of basic norms and neutrality.

World Jewish Congress said that the reports presented today were not accurate, they were not just, and they would set back the cause of human rights; it was clear that their purpose was to single out and delegitimize Israel, rather than advance the values they claimed to uphold. Hamas would keep on provoking disastrous war with Israel as it knew that this Council, and others, would reward them by ignoring their responsibility and excoriating Israel.

International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists said that the Council chose to discuss seven different reports concerning the same issue which was absurd and counterproductive. The existence of so many mandates, resolutions and reports only served a hidden agenda that had little to do with the protection of human rights, ensuring accountability and promoting a viable solution to the situation.

International Federation of Journalists brought to the attention of the Council the plight of journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and believed that Israel, by virtue of being the de facto authority in areas under occupation and control, bore greater responsibility for protecting journalists. Israel continued to reject identity cards, accreditations and press cards when carried by Palestinian journalists and media staff, denying them access to areas where important events were taking place.

Institute for Women’s Studies and Research said human values obliged everyone to protect human rights, including in times of crises. Israel’s military operation in Gaza had resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians, including women, children and elder persons. The Council should adopt suitable measures to make Israel stop committing war crimes against the people of Gaza.

Union of Arab Jurists said Israel continued to ignore decisions by international bodies and continued building settlements and attacking buildings and fields in violation of international human rights law. In the Golan, Israel continued its occupation and exploitation of natural resources despite international condemnation. It supported extremist groups in Syria.

Human Rights Watch was concerned about war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel had built more than 10,000 homes for settlers since 2009 in violation of international humanitarian law, and had demolished 4,500 Palestinian homes. Human Rights Watch had documented many unlawful attacks during the hostilities in Gaza by Israeli armed forces and Palestinian armed groups, resulting in the death of civilians, and expressed concern that neither Israel nor Hamas had made credible steps towards accountability.

Organization for Defending Victims of Violence said that the root causes of the crisis in Palestine were the occupation by Israel, its racist policies against Palestinians, and crimes against humanity that Israel was committing. The only solution to this great human tragedy was to put an end to the occupation, realize the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and ensure the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland.

International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations said that Israel continued to violate the most basic rights of the Palestinian people and called on the international community to offer protection to the Palestinians. Two days ago, the new Israeli Prime Minister said that he did not support a two-State solution and that he would continue to build illegal settlements, which demonstrated Israel’s total disregard for international law.

International Federation of Human Rights Leagues said that there was an absolute need to bring those responsible for international crimes committed during Israeli’s operation “Protective Edge” to justice, provide reparation for victims, and ensure that accountability for the “Protective Edge” paved way for non-repetition. All States publicly opposed to Palestinian accession to the international justice system should end their efforts to block accountability and support the rights of victims to justice and redress.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said that Israel applied a system of domestic laws and policies that had resulted in institutionalized racial discrimination, segregation and oppression of the city’s occupied Palestinian population. Israel had carried out a policy of population transfer, with the declared aim of transforming occupied East Jerusalem into a Jewish-Israeli city. The events in occupied East Jerusalem in 2014 had shown an alarming trend toward further State-supported settler violence.

Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said that, according to the report on the human rights situation in Palestine, Israel remained fully committed to a policy of settlement construction. It showed concerns that the ramifications of the policy could be grievous and wide-ranging. Solutions could be achieved with the thorough and consistent application of legal mechanisms, supported in full by the international community.

Amuta for NGO Responsibility said that some European countries had provided funding for anti-Israeli non-governmental organizations. Illegal attacks against Israeli people had been justified and anti-Jewish acts had been committed. It regretted that politicized groups funded by European Governments opposed Israel's existence. Amuta for NGO Responsibility condemned the disinformation campaigns against Israel.

Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development wished to reiterate the right of Palestinian people to self-determination. Over 1.2 million Palestinians lived under the grave consequences of the land, sea and air blockade of Gaza by Israel. Despite the blockade being condemned as an illegal punishment by numerous United Nations bodies and resolutions, nothing had changed.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights called for collective accountability for the victims of the Israeli occupation, including the blockade of Gaza. This was a protracted man-made humanitarian crisis. The killing of 216,000 Palestinians, including children and persons with disabilities, and in their homes was unacceptable. Over 31,000 homes had been destroyed or had sustained severe damages. In 2013, over 130 incidents of torture had been documented on Palestinians by Israeli authorities.

Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man said that over 1,600 Palestinians had lost their lives in the Gaza Strip intervention, where civilian homes and public infrastructure had been targeted. It condemned Israel’s policy of aggression, and the silent stagnation of the Palestinian economy due to the exploitation of its gas, water and natural resources. It was astounded that the European Union supported the action to remove agenda item seven from the agenda.

Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, in a joint statement, expressed regret that some European Union Member States chose not to abide by the European Union’s consensus decision not to participate in agenda item seven. The delay of the submission of the report by the Commission of Inquiry was due to the most unusual resignation of the Chairperson who had neglected to report his previous consultancy relationship with one of the parties to the conflict.

Press Emblem Campaign regretted the postponement of the report by the Commission of Inquiry to the June session of the Human Rights Council and said that the deaths of 16 journalists during the military operations last summer in Gaza must be fully investigated, and those responsible must be identified. The Council should exert real pressure on the authorities in Israel and Palestine to induce them to comply with international laws that guaranteed media freedom and freedom of expression.

European Union of Jewish Student said the recent attacks on Jewish students in campuses in several European countries were interconnected with the attitude of the international community towards Israel. Agenda item seven was being used as a political tool against Israel and if this Council wanted to stand up to its founding principles, it should put an end to this discriminatory item.


World Council of Churches highlighted the persistent problem of settler violence in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, in particular hate attacks on religious objects, which was the consequence of the continued creation and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on territories that were not recognized as part of Israel. Settler violence deprived Palestinians of many of their basic rights such as the freedom of movement, the right to education and even the right to life in some instances.
____________

For use of the information media; not an official record