Amnesty International: Dismal ‘Peace Deal’ Would Exacerbate Violations, Enshrine Impunity

   Amnesty International: Dismal ‘Peace Deal’ Would Exacerbate Violations, Enshrine Impunity

US President Donald Trump holds a proclamation recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights as he is applauded by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in the White House on 25 March (Reuters)

The Trump administration’s dismal package of proposals to violate international law and further strip Palestinians of their rights is a handbook for more suffering and abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said Tuesday.

The organization urged the international community to reject measures contravening international law that are set out in President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”. These include a formal extension of Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the vast majority of the illegal settlements in the rest of the occupied West Bank in exchange for land currently inside Israel.

“While the Trump administration has emphasized the principle of land swaps in its deal, we should make no mistake that it is proposing further annexation of Palestinian territory, which would flagrantly violate international humanitarian law. During more than half a century of occupation Israel has imposed a system of institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians under its rule, denying them basic rights and access to effective remedies for violations. The deal amounts to endorsement of these brutal, unlawful policies,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

Amnesty International called on the international community to reject annexation proposals, which violate international law, and reiterate the illegality of Israeli settlements in occupied territory.

Amnesty International said the deal also includes proposals to create a “compensation mechanism” for Palestinian refugees, instead of granting them their right to return. With currently more than 5.2 million registered refugees, Palestinians are one of the world’s largest refugee populations. Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948, and their descendants, have a right to return under international law. This is an individual human right which cannot be given away as a political concession.

“Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees are trapped in overcrowded camps, more than 70 years after they, their parents or grandparents were first forced out of their homes. This proposal ignores refugees’ rights under international law and the decades of suffering they have endured,” said Philip Luther.

The international organization warned that the deal seeks to undermine international justice shortly after the announcement last month of progress towards an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It insists that, during any negotiations, the Palestinian authorities must take “no action, and dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and all other tribunals.”

The deal also demands that the Palestinian authorities take “no action against any Israeli or United States citizen before Interpol or any non-Israeli or United States (as applicable) legal system”. This is a blatant attempt to stop Palestinians seeking justice in national courts of third countries using universal jurisdiction, an essential tool of international justice, it added.

“A just and sustainable peace requires a plan that prioritizes the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis, and must include justice and reparation for victims of war crimes and other grave violations. This plan not only fails this fundamental test; it seeks to torpedo efforts towards justice for both Palestinians and Israelis that are currently under way,” added Philip Luther.

US President Trump launched his “peace deal” on Tuesday in the form of a 180-page proposal entitled “Peace to Prosperity”, saying that it would be a “realistic two-state solution” that had already been agreed to by Israel as the basis for negotiations with the Palestinians. The plan was prepared without any input from Palestinian leaders.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “deal of the century” reinforces Israel’s position and its apartheid policies against the Palestinians.

“The plan is a Trump-drafted version of the Balfour Declaration and an old Israeli plan in a US mask”, the statement read. “This is a new conspiracy aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause and negate Palestinians’ national and legitimate rights, most notably the right to self-determination, return to the homeland, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State along the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its eternal capital”.

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