Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they breach the Fourth Geneva Convention. Credit: AFP
The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel presented an oral intervention on 16 June 2020 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, con-sponsored by four partner Palestinian human rights organizations, calling on the UN and the international community to vehemently oppose Israel's looming annexation of large swaths of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and to push for the dismantling of all Israeli settlements.
Adalah and partner groups warned that annexation will normalize Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation. The Israeli plan would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm, and Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine.
Later that same day, 47 UN special rapporteurs issued a biting denunciation of Israel's West Bank annexation plan, calling it "a vision of 21st century apartheid".
The oral intervention was delivered by Nada Awad of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies to the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of Adalah, Al-Haq – Law in Service of Man, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights.
“Last month, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel swore in a new government seemingly committed to formally annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) in the West Bank in July, in a blatant violation of international law. This annexation, part of the so-called Trump-Netanyahu “Deal of the Century” and the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition agreement, normalizes Israel’s colonial project and amounts to apartheid via the continued expansion and construction of illegal settlements, displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, and demographic manipulation”, read the oral intervention, presented in the context of Item 9 – Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
“The principles of this plan are enshrined in Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Basic Law enacted in July 2018. This law established a constitutional order based on systematic ethnic supremacy, domination, and segregation in the so-called “Land of Israel” and the denial of the realization of national self-determination for the Palestinian people…. This law intends to justify as constitutional segregation in land and housing that targets all Palestinians in historic Palestine, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, who have suffered decades of systematic oppression”.
“Annexation would further entrench racial, ethnic, and religious segregation as a legal norm. In this context, Israel will formally establish itself as the sole sovereign regime over the Palestinian people in historic Palestine”, it added.
The groups called on the UN and the international community to call for the dismantling of all settlements, to vehemently oppose any annexation, and to guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right of return to their homes and property.