In a Joint Submission to UN Special Rapporteur, Organizations Highlight the Role of Israel’s Colonial Settlements in the Entrenchment of its Settler-Colonial and Apartheid Regime
Today, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC); Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies; and Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network submitted a joint submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. Michael Lynk, laying out the legal framework prohibiting Israeli colonial settlements in occupied Palestine. The organizations cited the colonies as key to Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, and analyzed their impact on the Palestinian people’s human rights and self-determination.
The joint submission is pursuant to a call for input ahead of the Special Rapporteur’s report on the issue, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in its 47th Session (21 June–9 July 2021).
Placing Israel’s construction and maintenance of its colonial settlements within the broader context of its settler-colonial and apartheid regime, the joint submission addressed the legal status, and more specifically, the illegality, of such settlements. Considered to be a serious violation of international law, as supported by the United Nations Security Council at least six times since 1979, the submission further asserted that Israel’s colonial settlements contravene multiple provisions of the Rome Statute on crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, including the prohibition of population transfer, annexation, and apartheid. Nonetheless, Israel continues to establish, maintain, and expand its settler-colonial enterprise, which serves to further de facto annex large parts of the West Bank, entrenching its regime over the Palestinian people as whole, on both sides of the Green Line, and Palestinian refugees and exiles abroad.
The joint submission further addressed the impact of Israel’s colonial settlements on Palestinian rights by underscoring Israel’s unlawful policies and practices, including its discriminatory planning and zoning regime, movement restrictions, the pillaging of natural resources, and systematic failure to combat settler violence; allowing settlers to enjoy institutionalized impunity. These policies and practices, inter alia, hinder Palestinian livelihoods, obstruct the fulfilment of basic needs, and violate the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Finally, the submission called on the Special Rapporteur and all UN member states to condemn Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, recognize the role played by illegal Israeli colonial settlements and corporations in maintaining and expanding this regime, and to take meaningful and effective steps to address their negative impacts upon Palestinian rights, including by lending their full support to the Office of the Prosecutor, and the ICC more generally, in this endeavor, and refraining from all acts and omissions that may threaten its contribution to the fight against impunity, and struggle for accountability, for Palestinian victims of international crimes.
Read the joint submission here.
Photo: The Israeli colony of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank on the east of Jerusalem seen on 11 February 2020. Source: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP.
 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Advisory Opinion) ICJ Rep 2004, paragraph 120 (hereafter: Advisory Opinion on the Wall), UN Security Council resolutions S/RES/446, 22 March 1979, https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/BA123CDED3EA84A5852560E50077C2DC; S/RES452, 20 July 1979, https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/BA123CDED3EA84A5852560E50077C2DC; S/RES/465, 29 July 1980, https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/5AA254A1C8F8B1CB852560E50075D7D5.
 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, A/75/532, 22 October 2020, https://undocs.org/A/75/532.
 See UN ESCWA, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, Palestine and the Israeli Occupation,” Issue no. 1, UN Doc E/ESCWA/ECRI/2017/1, March 2017, http://jnf.a6a.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ESCWA-2017-Richard-Falk-Apartheid.pdf and Update to the ESCWA Report of 15 March 2017 “Legal Inquiry into Israel as an Apartheid State,” prepared for the 1st Global Conference on Dimensions, Repercussions of Israeli Apartheid and the Means to Combat it, Istanbul, Turkey, 29–30 November 2019, https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/r0e.5a5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ESCWA-UPDATE-Falk-Tilley-COMPLETE-DRAFT-1.pdf; Al-Haq, et al, “Joint Parallel Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Israel’s Seventeenth to Nineteenth Periodic Reports,” 10 November 2019, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/cached_uploads/download/2019/11/12/joint-parallel-report-to-cerd-on-israel-s-17th19thperiodic-reports-10-november-2019-final-1573563352.pdf.