UN under pressure to #SaveHumsa and end Israeli apartheid
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UN under pressure to #SaveHumsa and end Israeli apartheid

Today the UN Human Rights Council has discussed the situation in Palestine and has done so under pressure from hundreds of civil society organizations and people of conscience from across the globe. They have all appealed to #SaveHumsa, to recognize the attempts to destroy this and other Palestinian communities as policies of apartheid. They have further asked for effective steps to end Israeli apartheid.

Shahd Qaddouri from Al Haq has delivered the calls to the UN Human Rights Council in her Oral Intervention today.

Over 1550 people have already added their voice to the petition initiated by Stop the Wall and al Haq demanding the UN Human Rights Council and the international community to take effective action.

Signatories representing amongst others over 550 human rights and social justice organizations, trade unions, faith congregations and indigenous movements have endorsed the Joint Statement to the UN Human Rights Council.

Over 550 Organisations call on UN Human Rights Council:
“Condemnation is Not Enough – Root Causes Must be Addressed, Israel’s Impunity Must be Brought to an End, Justice Must be Achieved”

Date: 18 March 2021

Rooted in institutionalised oppression, displacement, and dispossession of the Palestinian people since the start of the Nakba in 1948, Palestinians continue to experience an ongoing-Nakba – an ongoing reality of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid. Since 3 November 2020, Humsa al-Fawqa, a Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley, has been targeted, raided, and demolished six times by the Israeli occupying authorities.

Currently, 11 Palestinian families residing in Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa, which is located in what Israel has declared a ‘firing zone’ area, are subjected to Israel’s discriminatory urban planning and licensing permit system, which has made obtaining building permits for residential and commercial structures in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, nearly impossible. Notably, Israel has appropriated 18 percent of the West Bank as firing zones, leaving some 6,200 Palestinians living there under threat of forcible displacement.

Containing vital land reserves for the natural expansion of Palestinian towns and cities and constituting a hub of Palestinian natural resources, the Jordan Valley is critical for Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise. Subjected to frequent raids and attacks by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF), the Palestinian residents of Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa and their houses and other structures of Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa were demolished and confiscated in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020, and now in 2021. In November 2020, the Israeli occupying authorities conducted what was described as “the largest forced displacement incident in over four years,” leaving 72 protected Palestinians, 38 of which are children, homeless, amidst a global pandemic. In February 2021 alone, the Palestinian community was raided five times by the IOF who demolished and confiscated the houses of 11 Palestinian families.

By systematically designing and implementing policies of displacement and dispossession tailored to forcibly transfer Palestinians, replacing them with Israeli settlers, to maintain Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise and apartheid regime, Israel continues to violate Palestinian rights, including the Palestinian inalienable right to self-determination, and right of return; while continuing to enjoy an unlawful culture of impunity.

International community, including the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, current and former members of the Security Council, Ireland, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, has condemned the Israeli-conducted demolitions of Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa, highlighting the illegality of the such attacks, and addressing the dire humanitarian conditions caused by these demolitions. In acknowledging that the demolished structures have been funded by the international community, as part of their ‘humanitarian support to Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank,’ the undersigned organisations assert that the humanitarian aid should remain a short-term, temporary support, as the international community should not deviate away from its recognition of the root causes of the occupation: Israel’s colonial and apartheid regime, and its associated systematic policies and practices. 

Underscoring the need to put an end to Israel’s prevailing culture of impunity, Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, and Balakrishnan Rajagopal, UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, and on the Right to Non-Discrimination, welcomed “the support given to the villagers of Humsa Al-Bqai’a by the diplomatic representatives in Palestine and Israel,” but stressed that “much more must be done by their governments to insist upon Israeli accountability, which is the missing key to ending this protracted occupation.”

Israel’s culture of impunity has further allowed business enterprises to benefit from the prolonged Israeli occupation and the perpetration of gross human rights violations. Al-Haq and Stop the Wall have identified JCB, CAT and Volvo bulldozers aiding the Israeli occupying authorities in their attacks against Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa. Notably, JCB has already been placed on the UN Database, amongst 112 Israeli and international companies, operating in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Further, JCB is currently being investigated by the United Kingdom National Contact Point for its involvement in human rights violations against Palestinians, but still continues to provide machinery to aid and abet war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The recent decisions of the Pre Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC), affirming that the Court has full territorial jurisdiction over the occupied Palestinian territory i.e. the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC on the opening of a full criminal investigation into the Situation in Palestine represent a critically important step towards ending impunity and upholding the international rule of law, while ensuring the dignity of the Palestinian people who continue to be denied their right to self-determination and who are subjected to, inter alia, a criminal regime of apartheid, forced displacement, population transfer, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, and pillage, within the jurisdiction of the Court. 

The continued targeting of Humsa al-Fawqa represents Israel’s unwillingness to adhere to binding international legal obligations, as Occupying Power, and Third State’s failure to put an end to Israel’s impunity, further undermines the rule of international law.

Accordingly, we reiterate our calls on:

  • The Human Rights Council of the United Nations to recognise and denounce Israel’s policies against the entire Palestinian people, including the demolitions of Humsa al-Fawqa, as war crimes of an Occupying Power, violation of the Palestinian right to self-determination and constituting the crime of apartheid;
  • The Human Rights Council to establish an independent Human Rights Council fact-finding mission into Israel’s apartheid regime and associated obligations of states, international organizations and business enterprises;
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to further develop in a transparent manner the UN database on business enterprises involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise;
  • The international community to resort to all available mechanisms to achieve international justice and accountability, and in particular, to intervene immediately to economically sanction Israel, and to hold individuals including corporate actors who may have committed war crimes in Humsa al-Fawqa criminally accountable, where they are present in their territory or nationals of the State Party; and
  • All States parties to the Rome Statute and Third States to publicly support and fully cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC as per the obligations set forth in Article 86 of the Rome Statue, and in line with Common Article 1 of the four Geneva Conventions and Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to ensure the arrest and transfer to the Hague of persons investigated and accused of international crimes, and to prevent the continued perpetration of international crimes against the Palestinian people.

Support the call and sign a public petition to #SaveHumsa.

Signatory organisations: Full list of signatories representing amongst others over 550 human rights and social justice organizations, trade unions, faith congregations and indigenous movements:

  1. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association’s, Palestine
  2. Africa Europa Faith & Justice Network (58 member congregations)
  3. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestine
  4. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Mankind, Palestine
  5. A Planeta. Basque Country
  6. APDH Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos, Argentina
  7. Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB
  1. Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine (26 member organizations)
  2. Auckland Peace Action, New Zealand
  3. Australian Palestinian Professionals Association
  4. BACBI – Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  5. BDS Berlin, Germany
  6. BDS Colombia
  7. BDS Malaysia
  8. Breed Platfom Palestina, Netherlands
  9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  10. Canadian BDS Coalition
  11. Claremont Jewish Voice for Peace, USA
  12. CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium (90 member organizations)
  13. Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine, Australia
  14. CONAMINH, Honduras
  15. Cultura Libertà, Italy
  16. Defence for Children International – Palestine
  17. DOCP-BDS Netherlands
  18. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) (40 member organizations)
  19. European Legal Support Center (ELSC)
  20. Eyewitness Palestine, USA
  21. Families of the Disappeared, Sri Lanka
  22. Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and their Families – FILEF Sydney, Australia
  23. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
  24. Future in Our Hands Development Fund, Sri Lanka
  25. Good Shepherd Collective, USA 
  26. International Human Rights Council-Hong Kong
  27. Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (IAC)
  28. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  29. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Finland
  30. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, UK
  31. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Palestine
  32. Jubileo Sur Américas, South America
  33. Jubileu Sul Brasil
  34. Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste, Canada
  35. Justiça Ambiental JA! – Friends of the Earth Mozambique
  36. Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, USA
  37. Liga Argentina por los Derechos Humanos, Argentina
  38. National Association Assopace Palestina, Italy
  39. NDN Collective, USA
  40. Netherlands Palestine Committee
  41. New Trade Union Initiative, India
  42. Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI), USA
  43. NOVACT – International Institute for Nonviolent Action, Spanish State
  44. NWRG-onlus, Italy
  45. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association, USA
  46. Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos (30 member organizations)
  47. ‘Salaam – Ragazzi Dell”Olivo’, Comitato Di Trieste, Italy
  48. Palestine Solidarity Campaign – South Africa
  49. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Cape Town), south Africa
  50. Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK
  51. Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa/New Zealand
  52. Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Canada
  53. Palestinian Center for Human Rights
  54. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)
  55. Palestinian Non Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) (133 member organizations)
  56. Pax Christi Flanders, Belgium
  57. RACDES, El Salvador
  58. Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies, PAlestine
  59. Sabir
  60. SALAM SHALOM Arbeitskreis Palأ¤stina-Israel e.V., Germany
  61. Società Civile per la Palestina (Civil Society for Palestine, Italy)
  62. SOC-SAT, Spanish State
  63. Solidarity with Palestine- Toronto, Canada
  64. Solidarity with Palestine- St. John’s, Canada
  65. South African BDS Coalition (14 members)
  66. South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP)
  67. Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, USA
  68. Sydney University Staff for Boycott, Australia
  69. The International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles (97 member unions and labour organizations)
  70. The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD)
  71. Transnational Institute, International
  72. Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe
  73. Trocaire, Ireland
  74. UDAPT (Union of those Affected by Texaco-Chevron), Ecuador
  75. Union Syndicale Solidaires, France
  76. Aldameer Association for Human Rights
  77. Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network (HIC-HLRN)