Position of Human Rights Organizations on the 50th Anniversary of Israel’s Military Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
On the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip the undersigned organizations declare the following:
- The roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict go beyond the start of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. It may be traced back to 1948 and before when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were made to flee their homes in Mandate Palestine to become refugees in West Bank, Gaza Strip and other countries in the world including surrounding Arab countries.
- Palestinians are entitled to the right to self-determination which is widely recognized by the international community and classified as erga omnes obligation. This right stretches further than the establishment of a Palestinian state on the territory which was occupied in 1967 to include the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes from which they were forcibly displaced in 1948, before and after.
- Since 1948 Israel has committed systematic violations of human rights, many of which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. These inter alia include killings, property destruction that is not justified by military necessity, land appropriation, imprisonment and torture, transfer of its own civilians to the occupied territory, pillaging of natural resources as well as many other violations. All of these crimes have been committed with impunity and the perpetrators have succeeded to evade accountability.
- Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially settlement and its associated regime, violate international law and Palestinians’ inalienable sovereign rights. These practices may amount to de facto annexation of the occupied West Bank and have given Israel’s military occupation features of colonization and apartheid in violation of the principles of international law which emphasize the temporary nature of military occupation.
- The inaction of the international community and the complicity of certain states in Israel’s crimes, will prolong the conflict on the expense of the rights of the Palestinians especially the direct victims of crimes who are still waiting for justice.
- The international community is under a legal obligation to end Israel’s occupation and hold Israelis who allegedly committed serious international crimes accountable. The inaction of the international community, and in many instances its support to Israel, has encouraged Israel, the occupying power, to go further with its violations, ignore its legal obligations under international law and act as a state that is above the law.
- The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary examination on the situation in Palestine on 16 January 2015, following the acceptance of the ICC jurisdiction by the State of Palestine. In 2015 and 2016, the OTP indicated that it received more than 86 communications on the alleged crimes perpetrated. States should cooperate with the ICC OTP preliminary examination. Considering the gravity of the crimes and the absence of genuine accountability efforts, the Office of the Prosecutor should open an investigation at the soonest of delays possible, to ensure justice and deterrance from further escalations of violations.
- The international community must not recognize changes that Israel has created on the ground and must not adapt to practices which violate Palestinians’ basic rights and may amount to serious international crimes.
- Any solution or peace proposal that does not lead to the implementation of international law and the relevant UN resolutions which will enable the Palestinians from exercising their right to self-determination must not be recognized by the international community. Peace may not be achieved without justice.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
CAJ ( Comite de Accion Juridica), Argentina
Center for Constitutional Rights
Centro de Políticas y Derechos Humanos – Perú EQUIDAD
Centre Libanais des Droits Humains
Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Ecumenical Commission for Human Rights (Ecuador)
Human Rights Association (İHD)
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
International Association Human Rights “Fiery Hearts Club”
Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte
International Legal Initiative Public Foundation
Latvian Human Rights Committee
League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
La Ligue des droits et libertés du Canada
Ligue des droits de l’Homme (Belgique)
Ligue Senegalaise des Droits Humains (LSDH)
LIGA MEXICANA POR LA DEFENSA DE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS (LIMEDDH)
OPEN ASIA/Armanshahr Foundation
ADALAH – ISRAEL
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) – ISRAEL
B’TSELEM – ISRAEL
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) – ISRAEL
AL HAQ – PALESTINE
AL MEZAN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – PALESTINE
PALESTINIAN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – PALESTINE
RAMALLAH CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS STUDIES – PALESTINE