The 48Th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
13 September – 8 October 2021
Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.
Oral Statement of the Meezaan Center for Human Rights
General Debate - 22 September 2021
Delivered by: Louise REQUIN
Thank you president,
We would like to draw attention to the system of cultural appropriation engineered by Israel against Palestine. Israel is forcing displacement and settling into Palestinian and Muslim spaces. This is not simple geographic expansion, but a cultural one designed to erase Palestinian presence and their cultural and religious rights.
The Meezaan Center and Geneva International center for Justice believe Israel’s policy of eviction is not simply meant to acquire more territorial power, but also to establish rule over the cultural identity of Palestinians. The wave of evictions in Sheikh Jarrah from last May testifies to this: Sheikh Jarrah is one of the last standing Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The replacement of Palestinians by Israelis in the neighborhood therefore serves a complete takeover of Jerusalem, against the international community’s recognition.
The attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque are representative of the suppression of religious rights Israel is conducting against Palestinians. Israeli settlers repeatedly stormed into the mosque in an attempt to appropriate this Muslim space. Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing therefore goes beyond the killing of Palestinians.
Israel is not merely performing military occupation but actively erasing Palestinian lives, culture and history. The expansion of Israel’s settlement has left Palestinians with no other option than resisting such policies. Meanwhile, the state of Israel is ignoring NGOs and UN outcries and decided to silence and detain protesters. The ongoing pain faced by Palestinians needs to be addressed.