International Federation for Human Rights / July 1, 2020
FIDH condemns the decision of Israel, with the explicit support of the United States, to continue taking steps towards the illegal annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We urge the international community to intervene immediately, taking all necessary steps at its disposal to prevent Israel’s unlawful attempt.
The attempted annexation seeks to consolidate the 53-year occupation of Palestinian territory and is a direct and fundamental violation of Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations (UN).As the UN marks the 75th anniversary of the Charter, the international community must act swiftly to condemn Israel and the United States’ conduct as unlawful, to work seriously to bring the occupation to an end, and to ensure respect of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over natural resources.
Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stringently protects the inviolable rights of the Palestinian population from “any annexation by the [Occupying Power] of the whole or part of the occupied territory”. Critically, UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), requires Israel’s withdrawal from the OPT, while Resolution 478 (1980), determines that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem … are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.” UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) again reinforces that Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. In accordance with their responsibilities under international law all States must refrain from actions which contravene international law, or which render aid or assistance in the maintenance of the unlawful situation.
The persistent failure of third states, including at the Security Council, to adopt and enforce the necessary action to bring to an end the occupation is having a severely detrimental and far-reaching effect on the effectiveness of the international law. While many states and international organisations have condemned the imminent annexation, it is imperative that States take positive and meaningful action to address Israel’s continued violation of international law.
To fail in this obligation is to legitimise occupation, consolidate apartheid, and to fatally allow the continuation, if not escalation, of human rights violations against the Palestine people, as warned by forty-seven UN experts in a statement calling on the international community to ensure accountability in the face of further annexation of Palestinian territory.
FIDH therefore calls on the international community, and for States individually and collectively to take concrete and immediate measures to end Israel’s prolonged occupation of the occupied Palestinian territory, and to reaffirm the Palestinian right to self-determination and the national unity and territorial integrity of Palestine, and notably to:
- reject Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the OPT,
- immediately recognise the State of Palestineand to advocate for its full membership in the United Nations,
- decide and adopt economic sanctions and other measures so as not to contribute to the development of Israeli settlements, and thus to exclude products from the settlements from the States’ market, to exclude the settlements from the scope of bilateral treaties and to actively dissuade companies from engaging in trade and investment relations with the settlements,
- and to ensure accountability and redress for victims of this conflict.