18 march 2013
Item 7: Human Rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories.
Full text of the statement:
Madam High Commissioner, in your report you underline that International human rights law is applicable in the oPT. However, despite pertinent UN resolutions declaring the existence of the settlements illegal, Israel has significantly increased its settlement activities since the General Assembly's decision of November 2012 to recognize Palestine as non-member state. The day following the General Assembly's vote the Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to develop 3000 further housing units. Since then, demolitions of Palestinian properties have increased. Alone in January, a total of 55 Palestinian housing units has been demolished, a number which is seven times higher than the average number of demolitions in 2012 and higher than in any other year since 1987.
The implications of the settlements on the Palestinian people have been widely reported by the Fact Finding Mission. A multitude of checkpoints, separate road systems and a distinct legal system have led to a situation where the Palestinian's right to self-determination and non-discrimination are systematically undermined. This situation is especially reflected in Hebron, where settlements have been installed in the heart of the city. About 600 settlers live in these settlements, with a military presence of about 1500 soldiers. The main market street has been closed to Palestinians and thus limits the movement of 95% of the population. Over 1500 Palestinian shops were closed due to military orders or the restrictions imposed. The remaining families are subject of heavy settler attacks, which appear aimed at pushing Palestinian families out of the area. However, settlers are rarely held accountable, instead in numerous cases have been reported where Palestinian victims have been arrested instead of the offenders.
This situation should be given special attention.
Madam High Commissioner, commitment to International Human Rights Standards is a prerequisite for healthy international relations. In view of the recent developments the International Community cannot wait until Israel creates more precedents but shall react as soon as possible to restore peace and justice in the region, which will not only be in the interest of the Palestinians but also of Israel itself and the whole word.
22nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council - item 7
18 march 2013