Israeli soldiers check a Palestinian woman as she waits to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, April 23, 2021. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)
The UN on Thursday set up a conciliation commission for Palestine and Israel to pursue an amicable resolution to a dispute involving allegations of racial discrimination.
In a statement, the UN Human Rights Office noted that both Israel and Palestine are parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The convention defines racial discrimination and lists civil, political, economic, social, and cultural human rights that everyone must have without distinction regarding race.
It allows states to file complaints with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on alleged treaty violations by another state party.
The conciliation commission was set up following the convention and comprises of five human rights experts from the committee.
These experts, who serve in their individual capacities independent of any government or organization, are Verene Sheperd, Gun Kut, Pansy Tlakula, Chinsung Chung, and Michal Balcerzak.
The commission held two online preparatory meetings on Jan. 19 and Feb. 10, during which it adopted its rules of procedure and elected Kut as its chair.
It will review information and evidence, while also preparing a report highlighting its findings and recommendations for the amicable solution of the dispute.
The Convention on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the UN in 1965, has been ratified by 179 states.
In a Friday statement, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry issued a press statement welcoming the decision, saying “Israel’s discrimination and racism against the Palestinian people violates the basic tenets of international law and humanity as a whole. The fight against racism and discrimination must be universal”.
The Ministry deplored Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the commission and called for all relevant parties to support the commission’s work.