In light of the upcoming European Neighbourhood Progress Report on Israel (2014 progress report), Al-Haq would like to draw the attention of the European Union (EU) to Israel’s implementation of the EU-Israel Action Plan (Action Plan) between 1 January and 31 December 2014.
In the currently valid2005 Action Plan, the EU and Israel agreed to prioritise the enhancement of political dialogue and co-operation, including the promotion of protection of human rights. The parties further committed themselves to “[w]ork together to promote the shared values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law”.
As a Palestinian organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq is gravely concerned by Israel’s failure to adhere to its international humanitarian and human rights law obligations and, as such, its failure to implement the Action Plan. Despite the EU’s recommendation to Israel in the 2013 progress report to “ensure respect for international law and human rights in the occupied territories, including intensifying efforts to curb settler violence and minimising the use of administrative detention without trial”, Israel further entrenched its illegal policies and practices in the occupied territory in 2014.
The past year has been marked by Israel’s military operations in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip between 8 July and 26 August 2014, codenamed ‘Operation Protective Edge’, was characterised by Israel’s unlawful targeting of civilians and civilian objects resulting in a staggering death toll. According to Al-Haq’s latest data, a total of 2192 Palestinians were killed during ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Of these victims, 524 were children and more than 75 per cent were civilians. Another 10,918 Palestinians were injured, including 3312 children. Again, the majority of Palestinians injured were civilians. In terms of civilian objects, Al-Haq documented the complete destruction of 2,853 houses, of which 1,082 houses were directly targeted. In addition, at least 8,067 houses in the Gaza Strip, excluding hundreds of houses in the eastern areas of the Strip, were partially damaged. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 18,000 housing units were destroyed or damaged leaving 108,000 Palestinians homeless. At its peak, 485,000 Palestinians were internally displaced. According to Al-Haq another 27 ambulances and 15 health facilities, including major Palestinian hospitals, were destroyed or damaged.
In parallel, Israel’s military operation in the West Bank, codenamed ‘Operation Brothers Keeper’, included large-scale closures, mass arrests and detentions, house raids, punitive house demolitions as well as numerous cases of wilful killing of Palestinians.
In providing this submission, Al-Haq seeks to strengthen the international law component of the 2014 progress report and illustrate Israel’s failure to implement the EU-Israel Action Plan. To this end, the submission elaborates on a couple of main violations of international law committed during the year as well as sets out Al-Haq’s concerns regarding the structure and language of the 2013 progress report on Israel.
Whereas this submission details the violations committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Al-Haq will subsequently provide the EU with information into violations committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.