New Era of “Israel’s” War Crimes Accountability

November 29, 2022 

Source: Al Mayadeen English

By Ruqiya Anwar 

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions.

Notably, ongoing violence and crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including limited access to health care, education, and livelihood activities, affect socioeconomic conditions. Plans to change the demographic mix, character, and status of the holy city of Jerusalem “were also mentioned. The resolution queries the court on how these Israeli policies and activities” impact the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal ramifications that arise for all states and the United Nations from this position. The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, recommended mobilizing “all elements of the international law-based order, including international justice”.

Significantly, the first report to the General Assembly from the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “East Jerusalem and Israel”, was published earlier. It affirms that there are compelling reasons to believe that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now illegal under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de facto annexation policies. Furthermore, the Commission has concluded that “Israel’s” continued use of force to occupy Palestinian territory creates international obligations and keeps “Israel” responsible for past atrocities on Palestinian civil and political rights.

The ICJ addresses international conflicts between nations or offers legal advice on problems that the UN Security Council or General Assembly refers to it. An ICJ legal opinion typically takes at least a year to obtain. “Israel’s” separation wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank were found illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 legal ruling. Israelis fear that the ICJ would support the Palestinian position that the occupation equates to annexation, which would undermine efforts by governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to boycott, divest and sanction “Israel”. To prevent the Palestinians from enacting the resolution, the Israeli Government has recently begun an all-out offensive.

In this scenario, International support for the special committee’s mandate is required to spread the message that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of all Middle Eastern problems and to inspire global action to end the suffering. It should call attention to the violent eviction and transfer of Palestinian families, the trespassing and intimidation of Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and the efforts to hasten al-Quds’s Judaization at the expense of the city’s Christian and Muslim Palestinian inhabitants.

The Israeli Government’s policies have severely and in many ways affected many facets of Palestinian life, including women’s access to clean, inexpensive water, negatively influencing the whole Palestinian agriculture industry. Moreover, the erosion of economic, social, and cultural rights causes a great deal of “silent harm” and psychological distress, some of which may not be immediately obvious. Nevertheless, the effects of these incapacitating processes, both now and in the future, are devastating.

Furthermore, “Israel” cannot continue to promote its narrative that it has done nothing wrong while also pursuing annexationist policies and denying the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination; it is now abundantly evident. Essentially, international law stands on the side of the Palestinians, and all they needed was the ultimate political environment for the world to applaud such a courageous act.

The situation on the ground has gotten worse in the occupied territories. Palestinian human rights have consistently been violated by “Israel”, which has continued its policy of repression. Human rights organizations worldwide agree that the ongoing Israeli occupation has established apartheid-like conditions.

The Palestinian diplomats’ ultimate goal was for the United Nations Security Council to vote to recognize Palestine as a full member state without any veto interference from the United States. Recognizing Palestine as a full UN member state, even while it is occupied, would signify that the international community is committed to the two-state solution.

Additionally, the rules of conduct for nations under temporary occupation are specified in international humanitarian law. However, because this is a 55-year-old occupation, it is not a temporary one. Therefore, the highest court in the world must rule that it is an occupation that leads to illegal annexation — a decision that will have global ramifications. In demanding such a legal requirement, the Palestinians astounded the Israelis and their allies.

Most importantly, the repeated statements before the United Nations have not stopped severe breaches of Palestinian rights. While nations continue to express outrage and resolutions are passed, nothing appears to change. No amount of occupation by the occupying power of Palestinian territory will ever lead to peace.

The Palestinian people’s intrinsic rights, such as the right to self-determination and the right of return, have been violated blatantly by “Israel” in violation of its commitments under international law. Bringing an end to this miserable situation was the international community’s responsibility. Although the international community has repeatedly stated that Palestinians have a right to freedom, security, and prosperity, Israel has persisted in denying it.

This appears unlikely given the inherent bias towards Israel and vested interests of the international community, the United States and Europe, in particular. Until there is a fundamental shift in the balance of power, the status quo of a constant conflict punctuated by periodic escalation and carnage will stay, as there is no indication that international political will is present or will emerge.

Now, the UN has adopted a Palestinian resolution calling for the ICJ to weigh in on “Israel’s” protracted occupation quickly. Nevertheless, there is hope because the UN has called “International Justice” for a legal advisory opinion on the nature of the Israeli occupation. But will the UN follow through and actually hold “Israel” accountable? 

References:

Fourth Committee Hears Support for Referring Question of Palestine to International Court of Justice for Advisory Opinion | UN Press

Report-COI-OPT-14Sept2022-EN.pdf (ohchr.org)

OHCHR | The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/special-rapporteur-situation-human-rights-occupied-palestinian-territories

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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