On 11 October, Al-Haq and Miftah jointly submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council for the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Israel. Designed as a mechanism to encourage and evaluate compliance with a state’s commitments to its obligations under the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international human rights treaties and conventions to which Israel is a party, the UPR is a quadrennial review of the human rights record of all member States of the United Nations.
In an effort to introduce topics that have not been prominently raised by other UN human rights bodies/mechanisms, the submission provided developments regarding Israel’s policies and practices since its previous review that continue to maintain its apartheid regime over the Palestinian people. The submission emphasized the importance of understanding the intentionality behind Israel’s discriminatory legal and administrative mechanisms, which have been designed to deprive Palestinians of their inalienable right to self-determination, in order to understand the tools and actions necessary to dismantle the root causes of Palestinian oppression.
Presenting on Israel’s ongoing operations to actively suppress Palestinian self-determination, the submission detailed Israel’s willful killing, collective punishment, intimidation, and smear campaigns against Human Rights Defenders. Such operations were highlighted through reporting on the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) 2022 indiscriminate offensive on the Gaza Strip, resulting in 46 Palestinians casualties, and the excessive use of force during an IOF raid in Jenin on 28 September, causing the death of four Palestinians. The submission also discussed Israel’s discriminatory planning and zoning policies, such as the May 2022 Israeli High Court of Justice decision to reject appeals against eviction orders issued to the residents of eight communities in the Masafar Yatta region in the south Hebron Hills, that are under the imminent threat of forcible transfer.
Al-Haq and Miftah believe that the previous recommendations given by member states to Israel, addressing self-determination and racial discrimination, does not capture the ongoing settler-colonial apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the recommendations in Al-Haq’s submission endeavour to capture the systematic changes that must be implemented to dismantle Israel’s oppressive settler-colonial and apartheid regime that has persecuted the Palestinian people for over 74 years. These recommendations are as follows:
- Dismantle Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, bring to a complete end its illegal occupation since 1967 and end the ongoing annexation of the city of Jerusalem in its entirety, and the de facto annexation of vast swathes of the OPT;
- Enable the exercise of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the right of return to Palestinian refugees;
- Repeal the following laws that remain foundational to Israel’s apartheid regime:
- (a) The Basic Law: The Law of Return (1950);
- (b) The Citizenship Law (1952);
- (c) The Absentee Property Law (1950);
- (d) The Entry into Israel Law (1952) and its amendments; and
- (e) The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People (2018);
- Cease all measures and policies that contribute to the fragmentation of the Palestinian people, including the denial of Palestinian refugee return, the closure of Jerusalem and of the Gaza Strip, the construction of the Annexation Wall, and the imposition of severe movement restrictions;
- Make suitable and sufficient reparations to all portions of the affected Palestinian people, including Palestinian refugees and displaced persons, as mandated by international law;
- End the demographic manipulation of the OPT, which constitutes the crime of population transfer and apartheid, including the precarious “permanent residency” status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which imposes a separate discriminatory legal system onto Palestinians in the OPT;
- Restructure all discriminatory planning and zoning policies in consultation with the indigenous Palestinian people directly affected by said policies, including illegal house demolitions and destruction of property, denial of access to land and natural resources, and the creation of coercive environments designed to drive Palestinian transfer;
- End the targeting of human rights defenders, organisations, and members of Palestinian civil society. Cease any and all practices of intimidation and silencing of these groups, in violation of their right to freedom of expression, including through arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, institutionalised hate speech and incitement, residency revocation, deportations, and other coercive or punitive measures;
- Cease the construction of all illegal settlements in the OPT, including occupied East Jerusalem, and dismantle those already in existence, in accordance with its obligations, as occupying Power, under IHL and as mandated by international criminal law;
- Recognize the prolonged occupation as illegal;
- End Israel’s prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory, in line with Israel’s obligation to uphold the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including permanent sovereignty over natural wealth and resources.
Please find the joint Universal Periodic Review submission here.