On 6 July, Al-Haq sent a legal submission with the first findings of its preliminary field investigation to UN special procedures. On 3 July 2023, Israel launched a unilateral military attack by air and with ground forces in the densely populated Jenin Refugee Camp, in the occupied Palestinian territory (i.e., the West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). By 8:00 pm on 4 July 2023, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported the death toll at 12 killed, including at least two children. At 1:00 pm on 4 July 2023, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported 120 injuries in Jenin City and Refugee Camp, with 20 in critical condition. Al-Haq notes and appreciates the initial statement from UN experts in response to the attack on Jenin. In furtherance of this statement and in consideration of additional details emerging from Al-Haq’s first documented field research, Al-Haq submits this urgent appeal with related and additional recommendations.
In an unprovoked military onslaught on Jenin, on 3 July 2023, Israel intensified its military campaign against the densely populated Jenin Refugee Camp, employing strategic aerial bombardments, oversized military D9 armoured caged bulldozers, military trucks and jeeps and a ground snipers force. The camp is home to approximately 15,000 refugees, displaced during and since the 1948 Nakba. The displacement of the Palestinian population, subsequent denial of their right of return, and mass appropriation of refugee movable and immovable properties, in a large-scale ethnic cleansing known as the Nakba (the catastrophe) continues to this day with current waves of settlement expansion and displacements.
By 5:00 pm on 3 July, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that eight Palestinians, including two children had been killed. The Jenin Governmental Hospital and Ibn Sina Hospital received approximately 65-70 injuries, of which 10-12 were in critical condition. As attacks continued in Jenin camp and city on 4 July, this number has risen to 12 Palestinians killed and 120 others injured. The residents of the neighbourhood and areas of Jenin were confined to their homes due to the danger and intensity of the military attacks, and the threat imposed by intense low-flying reconnaissance aircraft in the skies above Jenin and the Jenin camp.
The attacks on the densely populated and residential Jenin Refugee Camp may amount to acts of collective punishment in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibiting acts of persecution against the civilian population. Further, given the broad consensus that Israel is applying an apartheid system of institutionalised discriminatory laws and practices, to maintain its domination over the Palestinian people, attacks against the civilian population to maintain such domination, may amount to inhumane acts of apartheid.
In light of the abovementioned, Al-Haq recommends that the UN Special Procedures:
Call for the UN agencies to ensure the provision of aid and protection of Palestinian refugees who fled from the Jenin Refugee Camp, and for UNRWA to make available its schools and buildings as shelters in Jenin;
Call on Israel to reveal the location and status of the persons detained during the Jenin Refugee Camp raid, and to ensure their health, wellbeing and dignity. Further, to release all prisoners arbitrarily detained and subjected to administrative detention without due process;
For Israel, the Occupying Power, to immediately and without delay, provide full restitution for the destruction of Palestinian roads and other private municipal properties;
Call on Israel, the Occupying Power, to provide full water, electricity and other essential services to the occupied Jenin Refugee Camp under its effective military control;
Call on Israel to protect hospitals, health care facilities, medical workers;
Call on the ICRC and UN Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism to issue a clarifying note warning against the application of broad counterterrorism measures to populations held under military occupation, where the legal framework includes armed groups who are combatants or civilians who spontaneously take up arms and are directly participating in hostilities;
Issue a general call and letters to companies such as Caterpillar, to conduct enhanced due diligence and not to supply military D9 bulldozing, or other equipment to Israel, where such equipment is used to persecute and collectively punish the civilian population, held under a settler colonial apartheid regime;
For the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism to issue a report on contemporary apartheid after South Africa, with recommendations to the international community on how to bring situations of apartheid to an end;
For the UN and the international community to uphold its responsibility towards effectuating the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to return.
Please find full submission to the UN special procedures here