Rising Rate of Violence Directed by Israel...
On 19 October 2021, the Israeli minister of defense outlawed six leading Palestinian human rights organizations, declaring them “terrorist organizations”. The groups have been operating for decades, some since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The six ogranizations are Addameer, which focuses on prisoner-support; Al-Haq, which has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council; the Bisan center for research and development; child rights organization Defense for Children International-Palestine; the Union of Agricultural Work Committees; and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that work closely with many of these groups, said in a joint statement: “This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations. The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.”
Counter-terrorism legislation must follow international humanitarian and human rights law, which include full respect for the rights to freedom of association and expression. It also cannot be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian work.
Israeli apartheid is an endless trauma for Palestinian people. We need to ask how this five-decade-old occupation has turned into a de facto annexation.
“Settler violence has always been an extremely disturbing feature of the Israeli occupation. But in 2021, we are witnessing the highest recorded levels of violence in recent years and more severe incidents.” Said the UN human rights experts. “The Israeli Government and its military have done far too little to curb this violence and to protect the Palestinians under siege. In several cases, Israeli security forces and outsourced private security companies stand by and take no action to prevent the violence; instead, they respond to settler-related violence by ordering Palestinians to leave the area, including Palestinian-owned land, or even actively support the settlers.”
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), already in the first 10 months of 2021, there have been 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians (302 against property and 108 against individuals). Four Palestinians were killed by settlers this year. In 2020, there was a total of 358 recorded attacks. In 2019, there were 335 such attacks.
“We are very troubled by the failure of Israel, the occupying power, to exercise its substantial obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, including Article 27, to protect the population under occupation,” said the UN experts.
“Yesterday’s playbook … has only led to repeated diplomatic cul-de-sacs, while enabling the patterns of human rights abuses and an endless occupation to continue largely unimpeded,” said Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. “This has been a political failure of the first order.”
Lynk’s annual report to the General Assembly focused on the effectiveness of four of the influential international actors involved in the Middle East process and the supervision of the Israeli occupation: the United States, the European Union, the World Bank and the Quartet (UN, EU, USA and Russia). “By not imposing a meaningful cost on Israel for its endless occupation, the policies of these four actors – inadvertently or not – have been contributing to the consolidation of Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory,” Lynk said.
“Recent trends on the ground are getting worse, not better,” Lynk warned. “The Israeli settlement population is approaching 700,000 settlers. The network of roads and utilities connecting the settlements to Israel and each other is expanding. Settler attacks against Palestinians are sustaining a coercive environment. Gaza remains under a tight blockade, which deepens its impoverishment and distress. And the amount of violence required by Israel to maintain the occupation contains to rise.” “We cannot continue to tolerate the intolerable: the imposition of a colonial reality in Palestine in the 21st century.”