On 15 and 16 February, the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (the Committee) will review Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the Convention) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). To complement the review process, Al-Haq, Addameer, BADIL, and Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) have submitted a joint alternative report to the Committee highlighting Israel’s failure to adhere to its obligations under the Convention in the OPT. Today, in Geneva two delegates from Al-Haq will brief the Committee on the report, in particular on Israel's policy of denying Palestinians their right to water.
The report focuses on a number of substantive issues that illustrate how Israel’s policies in the OPT are designed to establish and maintain the domination of one racial group over another. These include:
- The prevalence of settler violence against the protected population and the climate of impunity enjoyed by settlers who commit racially aggravated crimes. This is in stark defiance of Israel’s obligation under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian population in the OPT.
- The escalation of arbitrary arrests of Palestinian lawmakers, particularly in the occupied East Jerusalem area and the revoking of permanent residency status of East Jerusalemites.
- Israel’s policy of curtailing Palestinian development in East Jerusalem by way of a discriminatory zoning regime, which allocates only 13 per cent the city for Palestinian development. At the same time, 35 per cent of East Jerusalem has been expropriated for the construction of Israeli settlements.
- The discriminatory allocation of water in the OPT that renders preferential treatment to Jewish settlers.
As Palestinian organisations dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in the OPT, we have made several recommendations to the Committee. Among others, we ask the Committee to impress upon Israel to comply with its 2007 Concluding Observations, in particular to protect Palestinians residing in the OPT from settler violence, and apply a fair legal system that sanctions violations against the protected population. We furthermore recommend that the Committee urge Israel to halt all discriminatory measures in the OPT, such as home demolitions, revocation of residency rights, and restrictions on freedom of movement. In addition, the Committee should insist that Israel take all the necessary measures to allow access to and use of adequate water and sanitation infrastructure on a nondiscriminatory basis, and refrain from hindering the construction of such infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
The violations documented in the report are substantiated by field documentation collected by Al-Haq, Addameer, BADIL, and WCLAC.
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