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UN blames Israeli occupation for Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, June 9th 2022 à 14:40 | Read 382 times

The UN Human Rights Council will discuss the report on the Palestinian conflict on the first day of its new session (photo: UN)
The UN Human Rights Council will discuss the report on the Palestinian conflict on the first day of its new session (photo: UN)
ISRAEL / PALESTINE. A commission of enquiry mandated by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 27 May 2021 issued a report on Tuesday 7 June 2022 attributing to Israel the majority of responsibility for the conflict with the Palestinians. "Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians are the main root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability and prolonged conflict in the region," the document said.

"Ending Israel's occupation of territories, in full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, remains crucial to ending the persistent cycle of violence," it says.

According to the three rapporteurs (Navanethem Pillay, Miloon Kothari and Chris Sidoti), "impunity fuels increased resentment among the Palestinian people". They identify forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence and the blockade of Gaza as "factors contributing to recurrent cycles of violence".

Weak commitment of the Palestinian Authority to respect human rights

"The findings and recommendations on the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed at Israel, which we took as an indicator of the asymmetric nature of the conflict and the reality of one state occupying the other," commented Navanethem Pillay, Chair of the Commission.

The report regrets that the vast majority of the UNHRC's recommendations have not been implemented, including "calls to hold accountable those responsible for Israel's violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and for the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel".

It also points to the fact that "the Palestinian Authority frequently uses the occupation to justify its own human rights violations and as the main reason for its inability to hold legislative and presidential elections". At the same time, it denounces the weak commitment to human rights of the de facto authorities in Gaza who have not adhered to international humanitarian law.

Israeli protests

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs hastened to protest, in a statement, against the findings of this investigation, calling it a "waste of money and effort of the UN systems" and a "biased and one-sided report, tainted with hatred towards the State of Israel and based on a long series of previous and biased reports".

It criticises the report for not taking into account "the years of murderous terrorism by Palestinian terrorist organisations against Israeli citizens, nor the long-standing obstinacy of the Palestinians and the vicious, anti-Semitic incitement by the Palestinian Authority and its networks". The Israeli Ministry states that "the Commission of Inquiry ignored the real reasons that led Israel to defend its citizens against murderous terrorist organisations that commit the double war crime of shooting at Israeli civilians from civilian areas in the Gaza Strip". He sees the document as "an integral part of the Human Rights Council's witch-hunt against Israel".

The Israeli government had refused to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry. Israel is not a member of the UN Human Rights Council.

Another report expected in September 2022

The Human Rights Council, which succeeded the Commission on Human Rights in March 2006, has 47 member countries*. It is preparing to hold its fiftieth session from 13 June to 8 July 2022 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. On the first day, a dialogue will be opened with the International Independent Investigation Commission on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel.

The report will now serve as a basis for further investigations and legal analysis of alleged violations and abuses. A second document will be published in September 2022, when the Commission plans, together with the judicial accountability mechanisms, to define the responsibility of individuals, states and corporations. It will also assess the responsibility of third states and private actors in pursuing occupation policies.

In February 2020, the UN Human Rights Office unveiled, at the request of the UNHRC, a list of companies working in the Palestinian territories. Ninety-four of the 112 companies listed were Israeli.

* Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Marshall Islands, United Arab Emirates, United States, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Somalia, Marshall Islands, Sudan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

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