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Palestinian civil society calls for sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council renews the call for targeted sanctions

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, BDS National Committee, July 1, 2020

Israel’s extremist government decided today to keep everyone in the dark about if and how it will make use of the “golden opportunity” offered by the Trump administration to embark on de jure annexation of large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. No one should be misled, however. Israel will continue to quietly de facto annex occupied Palestinian territory, as it has done for decades, while trying to appease its Western allies. But as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation.”

Hundreds of international law scholars agree. They write that Israeli annexations of occupied territory are “null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances –  lead to individual international criminal liability,” regardless whether such annexations are effected “through ‘extension of sovereignty,’ ‘extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,’ or explicit annexation.” They concluded, “de facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation.”

For over a thousand European parliamentarians, “Failure to adequately respond [to Israeli annexation] would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” undermining “the most basic norms guiding international relations, including the UN Charter.”

The international community must therefore impose lawful, targeted and immediate sanctions on Israel in response to its ongoing annexation, illegal military occupation and apartheid regime of racial discrimination, segregation and territorial expansion that is enshrined in Israel’s domestic law.

With its silence, Israel hopes to silence global mobilizations that have compelled the international community to consider accountability measures and to safeguard its impunity. Israel, after all, is well aware that the climate of international complicity and lack of accountability is what has enabled its colonization, apartheid and de facto and de jure annexation of Palestinian territory to continue for decades.

Israel’s de jure annexation of occupied Palestinian territory, formalized in East Jerusalem in 1967 and later entrenched in the 1980 Basic Law, may now be replicated in other parts of the OPT. Such formal annexation crystallizes a “21st century apartheid,” according to dozens of United National human rights experts and constitutes a “most serious violation of international law,” as the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres stated.

Already in 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) warned that Israel’s de facto annexation of its illegal settlements by means of the Wall may become a fait accompli. Sixteen years later, this has indeed materialized. The ICJ called on all States and the United Nations to adopt measures to end these serious Israeli violations of the UN Charter-based international legal order and international humanitarian law and to meet their obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance.

Now is the time for serious accountability measures, not just for the sake of defending Palestinian rights under international law, but crucially to safeguard the very credibility of and respect for international law itself.

In response to Israel’s ongoing annexation and grave violations of Palestinian human rights, Palestinian civil society reiterates its unified call on all States and international organizations to respect their legal obligations to cooperate to end Israel’s illegal occupation, annexation and apartheid, and to withhold all recognition and assistance from it, by immediately implementing, as a matter of priority, the following measures:

  1. A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel.

  2. Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel.

  3. Prohibition of trade with the illegal Israeli settlements and termination of corporate business with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

  4. Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.

  5. Support efforts at the United Nations to reconstitute the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre against Apartheid to investigate Israeli apartheid.

Palestinian civil society signatories:

  • Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) including:

    • Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Mankind
    • Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
    • Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
    • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
    • Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP)
    • Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)
    • Aldameer Association for Human Rights
    • Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS)
    • Hurryyat – Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
    • The Independent Commission for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office) – Observer Member
    • Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights – Observer Member
  • Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
  • Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition
  • Palestinian Bar Association
  • Palestinian Medical Association
  • General Union of Palestinian Teachers
  • Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
  • General Union of Palestinian Women
  • General Union of Palestinian Writers
  • Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
  • Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine
  • General Union of Palestinian Workers
  • Palestinian Union of Postal, IT and Telecommunication workers
  • Palestinian National Institute for NGOs (PNIN)
  • Federation of Independent Trade Unions
  • Union of Palestinian Farmers
  • Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW)
  • Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC)
  • Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem
  • Coalition for Jerusalem
  • National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba
  • General Union of Palestinian Peasants
  • Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations
  • Union of Professional Associations
  • Women’s Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
  • Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps
  • Agricultural Cooperatives Union
  • National Committee for Grassroots Resistance
  • Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions PGFTU–Gaza
  • Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC)
  • Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)
  • Women Study Center (WSC PAL)
  • Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms – Aswat, Haifa
  • Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development
  • Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
  • MADA – Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms
  • Wasel Center for Youth Development
  • Youth Development Society
  • The Cultural Forum Center
  • Early Childhood Sources Association
  • Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
  • Human Rights & Democracy Media Center “SHAMS”
  • Rural Women Development Association
  • Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
  • Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
  • Health Work Committees
  • The National Union of Civil Society Organizations, Nablus
  • Burj Al-Luqluq Social Center Society, Jerusalem
  • Land Defense Coalition
  • Federation of New Trade Unions
  • Tamer Institute for Community Education
  • Palestinian Youth Union
  • Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Initiative (OPGAI)
  • Popular Art Center (PAC)
  • Teacher Creativity Center
  • The Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy (PCPD)
  • Arab Agronomists Association (AAA)
  • Seeds Association for Development and Culture
  • Palestinian House of Friendship
  • Palestine Friend’s Association
  • Yafa Cultural Center
  • Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society
  • Young Women Christian Association (YWCA)-Palestine
  • Treatment and rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
  • Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA)
  • Joint Advocacy Initiative-The East Jerusalem YMCA-YWCA of Palestine
  • Kairos Palestine
  • Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), Jerusalem
  • Ma’an Development Center