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Housing, land and natural resources

Business and Human Rights in Palestine

Upholding international human rights standards is traditionally the responsibility of governments, aimed at regulating relations between the State, individuals and groups. But with the increased role of corporate actors, nationally and internationally, the issue of business impact on the enjoyment of human rights has garnered a great deal of attention. Although the primary duty to protect human rights remains with national governments, companies have a responsibility to respect human rights in their operations.

Facts on the ground

Ideology and politics are not the only drivers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Economics plays an important role too. The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) is rich in natural resources, but through its occupation, Israel illegally exploits them for its own benefit.

Israel’s Deadly Catch: Israel Systematically Attacks Gaza’s Fishermen

This Special Report for the 2015 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights highlights severe human rights abuses suffered by Palestinian fishermen and the decimation of Palestine's fishing industry. The Special Report examines the position of American and Israeli gas companies operating within 13 nm of the Palestinian coast and Israel's brutal closure of Palestinian territorial waters to ensure the protection of gas platforms and pipelines operated by the companies in Palestine's maritime waters. All aspects of the Palestinian fishing industry have been impacted from attacks on fishermen, willful killing, unlawful detentions, and the forced removal of fishermen from occupied territory. The closure of Gaza's sea and land buffer has crippled the economy and reduced the supply of fish, a protein rich source of food, to the point that 57 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip, are currently food insecure. In addition, Israel's repeated military offensives on the Gaza Strip targeting vital infrastructure and causing deliberate damage to sewage facilities has had serious environmental consequences destroying vital fish habitats.

Annexing Energy - Exploiting and Preventing the Development of Oil and Gas in the O.P.T

Israel has forced a naval closure of the Gaza Strip as part of its energy security policy. The El-Arish pipeline and Mari-B gas platform are key Israeli strategic assets for its entire gas distribution network requiring stringent security measures. The Mari-B platform is located only 13 nautical miles from Gaza’s coast and the El-Arish pipeline runs across the entire Palestinian coast at 13 nautical miles connecting Ashkelon in Israel to El-Arish in Egypt. Since 2000, the year that Mari-B was first discovered, Israel has forced the closure of the Gaza Maritime Zone preventing Palestinian fishing and recreational use beyond distances of 6 nautical miles. 

Environmental Injustice In Occupied Palestinian Territory - Problems and Prospects

We were invited by Al Haq and Heinrich Böll Foundation to the West Bank to investigate environmental problems affecting Palestinians, which are attributable to Israel's occupation of the territories of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip. 'Environmental Justice' was the rubric within which we were requested to operate and to report.

Preventing the Development of Palestinian Natural Gas Resources in the Mediterranean Sea

In November 1999, a consortium comprised of Consolidated Contractors Limited (CCC), the British Gas Group (BG) and the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) concluded an agreement with the former President of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat for the development and commercialization of the Gaza Marine fields. The Gaza Marine is located 36 kilometers west of Gaza City in the Mediterranean Sea, 603 meters below sea level, within the contiguous zone attached to Palestinian territorial waters. In 1999, the Palestinian Authority granted a twenty-five year exploration license with 90 percent equity to British Gas. After receiving security clearance from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000, BG drilled two wells in the Gaza Marine finding reserves estimated at 1.4 trillion cubic feet (tfc).

Water For One People Only: Discriminatory Access and ‘Water-Apartheid’ in the OPT

For many years, the Palestinian population of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, has suffered from a shortage of clean, safe water. However, despite alarming predictions of insufficient drinking water supplies by 2040, based on the expected population growth in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Jordan and Israel, water is not and has not been scarce in the region.

Feasting on the Occupation: Illegality of Settlement Produce and the Responsibility of EU Member States under International Law

Al-Haq’s position paper ‘Feasting on the Occupation: Illegality of Settlement Produce and the Responsibility of EU Member States under International Law’ examines the implications of trade in settlement produce and the entry of such produce into the EU market, in light of the obligations of EU Member States under international law.

Pillage of the Dead Sea: Israel’s Unlawful Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The Dead Sea area is the lowest point on Earth and the world’s saltiest body of water. It is renowned for its distinctive geographical, mineral and climatic features and is rich in natural resources. The wide variety of minerals present in the area permits the development of profitable cosmetic industries and raw materials, such as silt, sand, gravel and mud, are regularly extracted for these purposes.

Exploring the Illegality of ‘Land Swap’ Agreements under Occupation

Al-Haq’s Exploring the Illegality of ‘Land Swap’ Agreements under Occupation examines the legal implications of the conclusion of ‘land swap’ agreements between Israel and the Palestinian representatives whilst the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip is ongoing.

In Focus: House Demolitions

This In Focus brief, drafted as part of Al-Haq's campaign to stop collective punishment against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), addresses the use of punitive house demolitions by Israeli authorities. It gives an overview of Israeli practices in the OPT; international legal standards relating to house demolitions; and relevant Israeli jurisprudence.

In Focus: Property Destruction

This In Focus brief, drafted as part of Al-Haq's campaign to stop collective punishment against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), addresses the legality of property destruction in the OPT. It gives an overview of Israeli practices in the OPT and relevant international legal standards under both international human rights and humanitarian law.

Israel's Punitive House Demolition Policy: Collective Punishment in Violation of International Law

This Al-Haq report examines the legality of punitive house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by the Israeli military. Utilizing the Israeli Supreme Court's security-based reasoning, Israel justifies punitive house demolitions in reference to the Defence Emergency Regulations of 1945. With a historical background of the issue at hand, as well as 5 case sudies of demolitions in the OPT, this study reviews the policy in light of international law. It is established that this policy is a form of collective punishment, and in accordance with humanitarian law and human rights law, is assessed as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Plunder, Destruction and Despoliation: An Analysis of Israel's Violations of the International Law of Cultural Property in the Occupied West Bank and

This report addresses Israel's systematic violation of international law pertaining to the protection of cultural property during armed conflict. It attempts to provide a comprehensive legal analysis of Israel's policies concerning cultural property in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Consideration is given to the relevant provisions of international law on the protection of cultural property; how these standards have been applied in the OPT; Israeli law regarding the protection of cultural property; patterns that have been seen in the OPT; and the obligations of Israel and third-party states regarding these ongoing violations.

Legal Consequences of the Demolition of Houses by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

This study summarises the issues surrounding the demolition and sealing of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) by Israeli military forces, allegedly for security reasons. This destruction is analysed as a violation of property and due process rights as well as a form of collective punishment of Palestinians in the OPT. Such an international crime carries with it serious consequences, including compensation for the victims.

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