There are reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies, according to the first report to the General Assembly issued today by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.
The Commission of Inquiry was formed last year, in the wake of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, in May last year, which lasted 11 days, manned by the occupation as the guardian of the fences. During this aggression 261 Palestinians were killed, and 14 were killed in Israel, according to the United Nations.
under international humanitarian law the occupation of territory in wartime is a temporary situation and does not deprive the occupied Power of its statehood nor its sovereignty, the three-person Commission called on the General Assembly to request an urgent Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of Israel’s continued refusal to end its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“Recent statements by the Secretary-General and numerous member States have clearly indicated that any attempt at unilateral annexation of a State’s territory by another State is a violation of international law and is null and void; 143 member States including Israel last week voted in favour of a General Assembly resolution reaffirming this”, stated Navi Pillay, Chair of the Commission. “Unless universally applied, including to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, this core principle of the United Nations Charter will become meaningless”, she added.
the Commission reviewed the policies and actions employed by the Governments of Israel to maintain the occupation, and annex parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Commission’s review was based on interviews with experts and stakeholders, and submissions received following a call for submissions issued on 22 September 2021.
“By ignoring international law in establishing or facilitating the establishment of settlements, and directly or indirectly transferring Israeli civilians into these settlements, successive Israel governments have set facts on the ground to ensure permanent Israeli control in the West Bank”, Ms. Pillay stated
“There is so much ‘silent harm’ and psychological trauma, that may not be immediately apparent, resulting from the erosion of economic, social and cultural rights. These debilitating processes have severe short and long-term consequences and must be urgently addressed”, said Commissioner Miloon Kothari.