Freedom of Movement for PalestiniansOctober 11, 2022
Illegal settler terror campaign in the Occupied Palestinian TerritoryMarch 3, 2023
In this UN report, the special rapporteur outlines a number of human rights concerns, in particular regarding the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, in the context of the settler-colonial features of the prolonged Israeli occupation.
Three generations of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory have grown up under Israeli occupation. About 40 per cent of them are refugees expelled by Israel since 1948 (including their descendants) who fled the violence that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel.
The Right To Self-Determination and the Palestinian people
- The right to self-determination is an “inalienable right” of the Palestinian people, as affirmed by the General Assembly.
- Since 1948, Palestinians continue to be deprived of their right to self-determination, together with their descendants, the refugees further displaced in 1967 and other non-refugee Palestinians.
A reality check: No Self-Determination
- For more than 55 years, the Israeli military occupation has prevented the realization of the Palestinian right to self-determination by attempting to “de-Palestinianize” (i.e., diminish the presence, identity and resilience of Palestinians in) the occupied Palestinian territory, attempting to transform most of it into a permanent extension of Israeli metropolitan territory, with as few Palestinians as possible.
- As an occupier, Israel has no sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territory. Even if the occupation was established purely for bona fide Israeli security needs (in itself, an aberration, given its adverse impact on Palestinians’ fundamental rights and freedoms).
- Israel, as explains the report, followed the strategies of (1) territorial fragmentation to circumvent Palestinian unity, (2) preventing economic prosperity and means to flourishment through exploiting natural resources, (3) preventing identity through erasing Palestinian cultural and civil rights, and (4) preventing political existence (and resistance) and statehood to circumvent any chance of Palestinians being able to practice their Right to Self-Determination.
- The nature of the Israeli occupation is that of an “intentionally acquisitive, segregationist and repressive regime designed to prevent the realisation of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination”
- Realizing the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination requires dismantling once and for all the Israeli settler-colonial occupation and its apartheid practices.
- The Middle East “peace process” and subsequent bilateral peace-making attempts have proven ineffective; they have not focused their approaches on human rights, particularly the right to self-determination, and have overlooked the settler-colonial underpinnings of the Israeli occupation.
- As a peremptory norm of international law, the right to self-determination cannot be derogated from under any circumstances and gives rise to obligations erga omnes.
- The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Israel complies with its obligations under international law and ceases to impede the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, ending its settler-colonial occupation of the Palestinian territory immediately and unconditionally and making reparations for its wrongful acts.
- The Special Rapporteur recommends that all States:
- Condemn the intentional violations by Israel of the Palestinian right to self-determination including through settler-colonial practices. This requires states to demand an immediate end to Israel’s illegal occupation and return of all land and resources the Palestinian people have been dispossessed from, and the UN General Assembly to develop a plan to end Israel’s settler-colonial occupation and apartheid.
- Deploy an international protective presence to constrain the violence routinely used in the occupied Palestinian territory and protect the Palestinian population.
- Act to ensure a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation of all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including those amounting to potential war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, committed in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- The Special Rapporteur further recommends that the international community pursue accountability for perpetrators through both ICC in its ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine, and universal jurisdiction mechanisms.
- Take appropriate steps to prevent, investigate and redress human rights abuses by all business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction by adopting the necessary policies to regulate business conduct in the occupied Palestinian territory, including disengaging from the colonies and providing effective remedy for victims.
In this report the Special Rapporteur raised some very good questions that the International community must address: On what basis does Israel continue to seize Palestinian land to build colonies in the West Bank, exploiting water and energy that belong to the Palestinians? On what basis does Israel destroy the essential civilian infrastructure of the occupied population?