December 2013 Report to UN Human Rights Council on Occupied Palestine

5 Mar
United Nations


General Assembly Distr.: GeneralXX December 2013

Original: English





[(Prefatory Note: This is my last report as Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine as my term is coming to an end after six years. The mandate is important as a source of information pertaining to the realities of occupation from the perspective of international humanitarian law and international criminal law. My hope is that this mandate can be brought to an end as early as possible, but not earlier than when Palestinians can live in equality with the Israelis either in a single bi-national state or in separate states. It is a matter that need to be decided by the two peoples in accordance with respective rights. No solution can be imposed or negotiated in a setting that is not premised on the equality of the peoples. RAF)]

Human Rights Council

Twenty-fifth session


Agenda Item 7

Human rights situation in Palestine and other

occupied Arab territories


Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk

SummaryThe present report is the final report of the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1. The report addresses Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the wall in the context of the tenth anniversary of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, and considers Israel’s policies and practices in occupied Palestine in light of the prohibition on segregation and apartheid. It also addresses concern in relation to the deterioration of the human rights situation of Palestinians living under the Israeli blockade in the Gaza Strip.


           Paragraphs           Page

  1. Introduction                   1-9      3
  2. The wall and the 2004 Advisory Opinion             10-21      5
  3. Israeli settlements and the fragmentation of occupied Palestine            22-47      8
  4. The Gaza Strip             48-50      14
  5. Question of apartheid and segregation             51-76      14
  6. Concluding observations            77-79      20
  7.  Recommendations            80-88      21

  1. Introduction
  1.     In his final presentation to the Human Rights Council (HRC), the Special Rapporteur would like to underscore the importance of this mandate as providing an independent witness to the evolving effects of Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestine. This exposure is centred upon the presentation of information received of the persistence of severe violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law. Bearing witness provides both a record of Israel’s violations and defiant attitude, and challenges the United Nations to take steps to ensure compliance. It should be remembered that the suffering of the people of Palestine is inseparably linked to the partition arrangements initially proposed by the United Nations in 1947, and which were never implemented or revised in a manner that takes full account of the rights of the Palestinian people, above all their inalienable right of self-determination.
  2. 2.    It was unfortunate that Israel refused even minimal cooperation with this mandate to the extent of allowing the Special Rapporteur to have access to occupied Palestine during the past six years or of responding to several ‘urgent appeals’ addressing specific situations of immediate concern that fell within the purview of the mandate. This Special Rapporteur was expelled in December 2008 when attempting to enter Israel to carry out a mission of the mandate to visit occupied Palestine, and detained overnight in unpleasant prison conditions. Such humiliating non-cooperation represents a breach of the legal duty of members of the United Nations to facilitate all official undertakings of the Organization. Although it has been possible to gain information needed to report on the situation confronting Palestinians living under occupation, it deprives the mandate of direct interaction, including the receipt of testimony bearing on international law grievances from representatives of the Palestinian people. It is to be hoped that the Special Rapporteur to be appointed as my successor will receive sufficient backing from the HRC to induce cooperation from Israel and some[RF1]  protection against defamatory attacks by some NGOs than was my experience.
  3. 3.    International Law. An abiding theme of my reports during the past six years has been the consistent failure of Israel to comply with clear legal standards embodied in the Fourth Geneva Convention and elsewhere in IHL and international human rights law. This pattern, as will be detailed below, is flagrant in relation to the wall, settlements, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, water and land resources, and the human rights of Palestinians living under occupation. Also relevant is the failure of the United Nations to ensure implementation of the recommendations as to international law contained in two high-profile HRC reports of 2009 and 2013, respectively those of: The fact-finding mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/12/48) and the fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights implications of the Israeli settlements (A/HRC/22/63). To the extent such a pattern is tolerated, it undermines respect for international law.
  4. 4.    Palestine. In light of the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state in its resolution of 29 November 2012 (A/RES/67/19), it seems appropriate to refer to territory under Israeli occupation as ‘Palestine’ rather than as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories.’ Such a shift in language also emphasizes the inadequacy of the international law framework available to address a condition of prolonged occupation that has now extended for more than 45 years. Special steps and procedures need to be adopted that will confer rights and establish the rule of law. To sustain indefinitely an oppressive occupation containing many punitive elements also seems designed to encourage residents to leave Palestine, which is consistent with the apparent annexationist, colonialist, and ethnic cleansing goals of Israel, especially in relation to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  5. 5.    Corporate Responsibility. Recent reports have underscored the potential implications for corporations and financial institutions that engage with and profit from Israeli settlements. The establishment and continued development of settlements is in violation of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, an assessment reinforced by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion of 2004 on the wall. Such an initiative has tried at all times to proceed cooperatively with the economic actors involved, and has acknowledged instances of compliance with international law and relevant United Nations guidelines and the encouraging recent indication of governmental and European Union reinforcement of these obligations. This trend also converges with and reinforces the social mobilization of civil society in a variety of initiatives, especially the growing campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
  6. 6.    ‘Legitimacy War’. In the pursuit of Palestinian rights under circumstances of prolonged occupation, there is increasing reason to believe that despite the authority of international law and the expressed will of governmental members of the United Nations, the situation is essentially frozen, if not regressing. In addition, Palestinians seem increasingly disillusioned with armed resistance and with traditional inter-governmental diplomacy. Palestinian hopes now for the realization of their fundamental rights have shifted to engagement in a ‘Legitimacy War’. Such a shift involves a worldwide struggle to gain control over the debate about legal entitlements and moral proprieties in the conflict as abetted by a global solidarity movement that is changing the climate of opinion. The United Nations has a crucial role to play in this process by lending support to Palestinian claims of rights and providing assessments of associated grievances resulting from Israel’s violation of IHL and international human rights principles and standards.
  7. 7.    Language. The Special Rapporteur believes that the language used to consider Palestinian grievances relating to IHL and international human rights law in Palestine needs to reflect everyday realities, and not remain beholden to technical wording and euphemisms that mask human suffering resulting from violations. It seems therefore appropriate to describe such unlawful impositions on the people resident in the West Bank by reference to ‘annexation’ and ‘colonial ambitions’ rather than ‘occupation,’. Whether these impositions constitute ‘apartheid’ is discussed in more detail in my report. Such clarifications at the level of language reinforce the contention that it is a matter of urgency to pursue more concerted efforts within United Nations venues to implement the rights of the Palestinian people.
  8. 8.    Emergency in Gaza. Developments in the region  combined with an unlawful blockade  maintained since mid-2007, has created a serious emergency situation in the Gaza Strip that threatens the entire population. From the perspective of international law, as argued in prior reports (A/HRC/20/32), Gaza remains ‘occupied’ despite Israel’s implementation of its ‘disengagement’ plan in 2005, due to control of borders, airspace, and coastal waters, as well as periodic military incursions. In that context, the present situation is dire as massive infrastructural failures cause daily hardship for the population, who are also at risk of epidemics. At the time of writing, with insufficient quantities of fuel reaching Gaza, electricity is available for only short periods, making it impossible for hospitals to provide proper treatment for seriously ill patients suffering from cancer and kidney ailments. The situation is aggravated by persisting tensions between the Palestinian Authority and the governing authorities in Gaza, and by the breakdown of cooperation along the border with Egypt. Egyptian security concerns in Sinai have led to greater restrictions at the Rafah Crossing, as well as to the destruction of the tunnel complex in southern Gaza that had eased some of the difficulties caused by the blockade.  Some countries, notably Turkey and Qatar, have responded to this situation by providing emergency relief, but much more assistance is required, including pressure upon Israel to end the unlawful blockade.
  9. 9.    Urgency. The stark reality is that the beleaguered occupied people of Gaza, over half of whom are children, are not receiving the protection to which they are entitled under IHL, which imposes an overall duty on the occupying Power to act in such a manner as to protect the civilian population from harm. Given the failure of Israel to live up to these obligations as set forth in the Fourth Geneva Convention, the United Nations and international society generally is challenged to take urgent action. The principles embedded in the R2P concept, ‘the responsibility to protect,’ would seem to have a special applicability to the emergency conditions currently existing in Gaza that is being brought to the attention of the world by graphic pictures of sewage in the streets, widespread flooding, seasonal cold including snow, and of children entrapped by these conditions.
  10. The wall and the 2004 Advisory Opinion

10. July 2014 will mark 10 years since the ICJ gave its near unanimous advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory[1]. Israel’s refusal to implement this assessment of international law by the highest judicial body in the United Nations is cause for severe concern.

11. The question put to the Court by the General Assembly bears repeating[2]: “What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, …, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?” The ICJ was unequivocal in its reply. In summary, it concluded that the construction of the wall in occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, was contrary to international law. The crucial point being that it would not have been unlawful for Israel to build a security wall on an established international border, but to encroach unilaterally on territory occupied in the 1967 was a flagrant violation of international law. The Court stated that Israel had a continuing duty to comply with its international obligations in this regard. It found that Israel was obliged to end the illegal situation, cease construction and dismantle the wall in the OPT, and to make reparations for all damage caused as a result of the wall.

12. In addition to the conclusions addressing Israel’s obligations, the Court stated that all States are obliged not to recognise the illegal situation arising from the wall, and that States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 were obliged to ensure compliance by Israel with that Convention. Finally, the Court suggested that the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider further action to overcome this illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and its associated regime[3].

13. In clear defiance of international law, Israel has continued construction of the wall and maintains on its website a map of 30 April 2006 showing its revised route[4]. At the time of the advisory opinion, the Secretary-General estimated that approximately 180 km of the wall had been completed[5]. Since that time, parts of the wall have been re-routed[6]. In 2013, the Secretary-General (A/68/502) reported that approximately 62 per cent of the wall had been completed. A further 10 per cent was under construction, and construction of the remaining 28% of the planned route had not yet commenced. Upon completion, the wall is expected to run approximately 708 km.

14. 85% of the planned route of the wall lies within the West Bank, and will cut off and isolate 9.4% of the West Bank territory, including East Jerusalem and so-called No-Man’s land[7]. Palestinian communities affected by the wall experience varying degrees of isolation and restrictions on their freedom of movement. The seam zone’s[8] associated permit regime requires Palestinians to continually apply for temporary permits to allow them to reside in their home area and carry on aspects of their lives that require entering or exiting the seam zone. In order to access farming land beyond Israeli controlled access gates, leave and return for work, access education, health and other services, visit family and friends or arrange for visits to those communities for non-resident Palestinians, prior permission by Israeli authorities is necessary. This permit procedure imposes daily hardships on many Palestinian lives[9].

15. The Ministry of Defence states that “The Security Fence does not annex territories to the State of Israel, nor will it change the status of the residents of these areas[10].” Israel maintains that the purpose of the wall is to ensure security and protect Israeli citizens from terrorist attacks. In 2011, the Israeli High Court supported this reasoning regarding security in rejecting NGO petitions which claimed that the permit regime was aimed at expropriation and annexation of Palestinian land, and argued that its exclusive application to Palestinians, and not e.g. to settlers in the zone, was discriminatory and comparable to the Pass Laws of apartheid South Africa[11]. However, the High Court’s assertion does not overcome the conclusion by the ICJ that the grave infringements of the rights of Palestinians caused by the wall in the OPT were not necessary to satisfy legitimate Israeli security requirements[12].

16. If protection of Israeli citizens were indeed the only reason for the wall and the associated regime, it begs the question of why Israel continues to support the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, thus moving an increasing number of Israeli citizens into the very area from which it says the risk emanates. That continued settlement in West Bank land, including East Jerusalem, cut off by the wall seems to be creating a fait accompli amounting to de facto annexation, is a grave concern raised by the HRC, which has demanded that Israel comply with the Advisory Opinion (A/HRC/Res/22/26).

17. For Palestinian residents isolated from the rest of the West Bank by the wall,  and living under the permit regime and other restrictions, the issue is not alone about status, but also about how life is made untenable, inducing more and more Palestinians to abandon their land and leave. By way of illustration, for years, the village of Nabi Samwel reportedly attempted to improve the village school. The village’s location in the seam zone complicates access to outside education. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, stated on her 2011 visit to the village: “I am horrified by the way the Barrier affects Palestinians. It divides communities and inhibits the provision of services. I visited a one-room school with no windows and very few facilities, which can’t be improved because the planning rules don’t allow it. This is unacceptable[13].” In September 2013, the village succeeded in installing a container on the school ground to serve as an additional classroom. However, the school is now in danger of losing one of its two rooms for lack of a building permit[14]. These acutely burdensome living conditions lead to the displacement of long term residents. In 2012, the Village Council noted that over the past decade at least 10 families have left the village, which counts some 260 residents[15].

18. Another case in point is the approximately 25 houses making up the village of Al-Numan. It is also encircled by the wall, with its only access through an Israeli checkpoint, and restricted from unlicensed building activity, effectively resulting in the inability of families and the population of the village to grow as housing needs cannot be met[16]. Consequently, the villagers have seen their own number fall while observing the neighbouring illegal Har Homa settlement’s steady growth in occupied territory. In 2006 Al-Haq published a case study on the indirect forcible transfer taking place in Al-Numan[17]. These are but two concrete examples of the obstacles communities face daily. In 2012, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that there were approximately 7,500 Palestinians still living in the seam zone[18]. This is a decrease from an estimated 10,000 people in 2003[19]. Upon completion of the wall, an estimated 25,000 Palestinians would be located in the seam zone, a figure which does not include the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem[20].

19. Regular demonstrations against the wall and its associated regime staged affected villages are often violently suppressed[21]. A website for the village of Bil’in, a farming community, describes its struggle thus: “[Bil’in] is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty. … .Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame”. And every Friday the Israeli army responds with both physical and psychological violence[22].”

20. The impact of the wall on people’s lives is reflected in the progress report of the Board of the United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the OPT[23]. As of June 2013, 36803 claim forms for registration of damage had been received and, of the almost 9000 claims decided, all but 580 claims were found to meet the eligibility criteria for inclusion in the register. Claimants may submit claims under categories of losses including: agriculture; commercial; residential; employment; access to services; and public resources[24].

21. In his first report (A/63/326) to the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur recommended seeking the assistance of the Security Council for the implementation of the advisory opinion. In the face of the unequivocal opinion of the ICJ, and of General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 that called on Israel to comply with the advisory opinion, Israel has defiantly acted as if international law and international judicial authority has no bearing on their policies and behavior[25]. With the tenth anniversary of the advisory opinion approaching, it is time again to examine what legitimate action by the international community can be taken to achieve compliance with international law, as set out by the ICJ. It is often supposed that because the legal findings of the ICJ were embedded in an ‘advisory opinion’, it has no bearing on the status of Israel’s legal obligations. This is incorrect. An advisory opinion of the ICJ is as determinative with respect to the authority of international law as a judgment in a dispute between two or more states, but unlike such a judgment between states that can be directly enforced by reliance on Article 94 of the United Nations Charter, an advisory opinion cannot be so implemented. However, this difference does not weaken the obligation of Israel to act in accordance with this authoritative determination of international legal obligations, and its failure to do so puts it in breach of international law and responsible for the cumulative harm inflicted on the Palestinian people. It is past time, for the United Nations to take action that seeks to protect the rights of the Palestinian people bearing on the sanctity of their territory and its relation to the underlying right of self-determination.

III.Israeli settlements and the fragmentation of occupied Palestine

  •      Facts on the ground

22. The hallmark of Israel’s 46-year prolonged annexing occupation of Palestine has been Israel’s determined pursuit of settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in defiance of its international law obligations[26]. This was clearly reflected in the findings of the international fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements.[27] Throughout the past six years, the Special Rapporteur has periodically reported on the expansion of settlements and outposts[28] in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, (in breach of Israel’s own commitment to freeze settlement expansion, including natural growth under the 2003 Middle East Quartet Road Map), and the impact of associated policies and practices on the human rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territory.[29] While the pro-settlement camp claims that, “Settlements aren’t the problem”[30], this view stands in sharp contrast to the facts on the ground.

23. Increasing fragmentation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by way of a combination of policies and practices including, but not limited to: the wall; the creation of seam zones; checkpoints; zoning and planning restrictions; demolition of homes and forced evictions (particularly of Bedouin communities in Area C); revocation of residency rights; the designation of vast tracts of land in the West Bank as closed military zones or natural reserves; and the expropriation of land for settler agriculture or industrial zones, may irreversibly disrupt the contiguity of the West Bank undermining a just and sustainable “two-state” solution[31].

24. Peace Now, an Israeli NGO, called attention to “Bibi’s Settlements Boom” in 2013, reporting that tenders had been published for 3,472 new units in settlements, and that plans had been promoted 8,943 new settlement units in the eight months since the Netanyahu government took office in March 2013.[32] Despite a brief and limited ten month moratorium on settlement construction in 2010 during the last round of unsuccessful peace talks (which also demonstrated Israel’s ability to halt settlement activity if desired), Israel issued tenders for the construction of 5,302 housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the period from March 2009 to January 2013.[33]

25. The timing of announcements regarding settlement expansion has also been provocative, with the two most recent announcements coinciding with the first and second round of Palestinian prisoner releases by Israel in the context of the renewed peace negotiations that began in August 2013. The passage of time under the status quo has not been a neutral factor for Palestinians as more “facts on the ground” are created on a daily basis, strengthening Israel’s position in its preferred mode of power-based negotiations (as opposed to negotiations based on rights and international law). Despite protestations over settlement activity by the United Nations, and notably also by the United States, and the European Union[34], Israel continues to use state power and resources to promote its defiant settlement policies. The Secretary-General has described Israel as playing a “leading role” in the construction and expansion of settlements through the control of land and natural resources as well as the preferential treatment given to settlers by way of benefits and incentives.[35]

26. This latter factor is important to note if the removal of existing settlements were to occur as part of a peace agreement. Approximately half of all settlements in the West Bank can be classified by type as either ‘quality of life’, or a mixture of ‘quality of life/ideological’, which tend to be inhabited by predominately secular or mixed settler populations.[36] At least for the economic settlers who were persuaded to move to the West Bank settlements through various government benefits and incentives, Israel might be able to re-incentivise those settlers to re-settle to the west of Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Israel would have a more difficult time removing the more religious settlers who live in approximately 70 settlements across the West Bank, all the more so as population growth in the settlements of approximately 2.8 per cent continues to outstrip population growth in Israel.[37] It also remains to be seen whether an emergent settler unity precludes implementing a future peace agreement based on inducing economic settlers to return to Israel. Certainly, it may be anticipated that ideological settlers would do their best to prevent such a division and the implementation of such an agreement.

27. It has been a small minority within the ideologically motivated  settlers who have been responsible for most of the violence committed against Palestinian men, women and children as well as their homes and properties. 361 incidents of settler violence were reported in the first ten months of 2013, including 87 resulting in the injury of Palestinians (compared to a total of 366 incidents in 2012).[38] Most of these incidents occurred in the Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron governorates. Settler violence is reinforced by a lack of accountability and the related failure of Israeli law enforcement forces to protect vulnerable Palestinian communities.[39]

28. Housing demolitions and displacement of Palestinian communities also kept up with the settlement boom in 2013. From January to October 2013, 533 Palestinian homes and livelihood structures were demolished, including 205 residential structures displacing 969 people, including 441 children. International donor-funded structures, paid for by taxpayers around the world were not spared from demolition, and 96 donor funded structures, including residential, livestock-related and water and sanitation facilities in the West Bank were demolished by Israeli authorities.

29. Herding communities living in small villages in Area C have been particularly vulnerable to Israeli practices accelerating the fragmentation of the West Bank. In 2013, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights twice spoke out against the demolition of at least three Bedouin and herder communities in Mak-hul, Tel al Adassa and Az Za’ayyem in the northern Jordan Valley.[40] Israel’s violations of international law extend to actively preventing the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance from the international community to the affected Palestinian communities.[41]

  •      The future of outposts

30. In July 2012, the Committee to Examine the State of Construction in the West Bank appointed by the Ministry of Justice and chaired by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmund Levy (the Levy Committee), issued its report on the legal status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in particular, set forth recommended steps to regularize the construction of ‘illegal settlements’ (outposts) in the West Bank (currently numbering over 100).It concluded that the international laws of occupation, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, did not apply to Israel’s unique situation in Judea and Samaria (the name given the West Bank in internal Israeli discourse and signalling a claimed biblical attachment), and that Israelis had the legal right to settle in the West Bank despite the international consensus.

31. The Levy Committee conclusions not only reflected disregard of international law but also set forth a quasi-legal retroactive endorsement of outposts, formally  unauthorized under Israeli law. In fact, the Committee determined that existing outposts were “carried out with the knowledge, encouragement and tacit agreement of the most senior political level, government ministers and the Prime Minister, and therefore such conduct is to be seen as implied agreement”.[42] A previous report of 2005 by Talia Sasson, a former chief state prosecutor concerning the illegal outposts had not gone so far as to implicate the senior most political echelon of the country, but had found the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization (fully funded from the State Treasury), the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, and the Assistant to Defense Minister complicit in the establishment of new unauthorized outposts and exposed an unelected bureaucracy in charge of creating new outposts without political authorization or oversight.[43]

32. The Special Rapporteur notes that while Sasson’s report clearly labelled the outposts as illegal under Israeli law and recommended their dismantlement, developments on the ground since then have shown that successive Israeli Governments preferred to follow the approach endorsed post-facto by the Levy Committee. Of 1,708 units constructed in West Bank settlements in the first half of 2013, 180 units were located in outposts.[44] In May 2013, Israel announced plans to legalize four outposts in the West Bank (in other words to recognise them as official settlements)[45] While the Netanyahu Government never adopted the Levy report, the Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law and Justice is expected to debate the report in early December 2013, indicating that it is being taken seriously at the highest levels in Israel.[46]

  • ‘Demographic balance’ in East Jerusalem

33. The status of East Jerusalem remains one of the most contentious issues to be resolved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is worth recalling that United Nations Security Council resolution 478 (1980) affirmed that Israel’s Basic Law proclaiming Jerusalem, including the annexed area, as the capital of Israel constitutes a violation of international law and did not affect the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in Palestine, including East Jerusalem.

34. For Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, their situation would not be as precarious if, despite the illegality of annexation, they were treated equally to Israeli citizens and afforded access to quality education, health care and housing. Instead, Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are regarded as ‘permanent residents’ and subject to a gradual and bureaucratic process of ethnic cleansing.[47] This has consisted of revocation of residency permits, demolitions of residential structures built without Israeli permits (often virtually impossible to obtain)[48], and forced evictions of Palestinian families, in violation of the  basic right to adequate housing, enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

35. A 2013 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on the Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem detailed Israeli policies that have impeded the natural growth of the Palestinian economy. It also noted that Palestinians are made to pay high municipal taxes in return for poor services and disproportionately low public expenditure in East Jerusalem.[49] This has been particularly evident with respect  to education, characterised by  shortage of classrooms, a high overall dropout rate of 13 per cent among Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem, and a general neglect of the Arab schooling system in comparison to their Jewish counterparts literally metres away in West Jerusalem.[50]

36. The situation in East Jerusalem today is a microcosm of the fragmentation of territory taking place across the West Bank. Israel actively seeks to undermine the Palestinian presence to serve its goal of preserving a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. This has been a decades old policy of Israel, acknowledged by the Jerusalem Municipality, to maintain a demographic balance of approximately 70 per cent Jewish to 30 per cent Palestinian in Jerusalem.[51]

37. Since 1996, an estimated 11,023 Jerusalem Palestinians have lost their resident status and right to live in occupied East Jerusalem.[52] During the period 2004-2013, a total of 479 housing units were demolished in East Jerusalem displacing 1,892 Palestinians. These figures account only for officially demolished housing units and do not include homes demolished by some owners after receiving a demolition order to avoid perverse heavy municipal penalties and demolition costs associated with the destruction of their own homes.[53]

38. The most problematic plan advanced in East Jerusalem in recent years has been the expansion of settlements and infrastructure around Har Homa, Gilo, and Givat Hamatos, as well as the E1 settlement bloc to the east, which threatens to cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.[54] Eventual peace depends crucially on ensuring that Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem are not further jeopardized.

  •      Corporate complicity in international crimes

39. Over the past two years, the Special Rapporteur focussed attention on companies involved in business and financial activities related to the Israeli settlement enterprise as well as the possibility of corporate complicity in international crimes related to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.[55] .

40. The effort to focus on business activities in the settlements was made, in part, to bring a measure of accountability with respect to the human rights obligations of companies in conformity with international law and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In so doing, the Special Rapporteur’s intention was not only to provide a sound legal basis upon which to assess the complicity of businesses in international crimes related to the settlements, but also in order to clearly set out the risks and associated costs in terms of reputation, as well as the potential legal consequences of doing business in the settlements.

41. The responses received from some of the 13 companies analysed in an earlier report (A/67/379) were mixed. Nonetheless, there have been a number of recent developments in relation to the involvement of other businesses involved in the settlements to indicate that public pressure and media attention does bring some ethical dividends, and has encouraged governments to be more vigilant.

42. Some positive developments in this regard include Royal HaskoningDHV, a Dutch company, which announced its decision to terminate a contract with the Jerusalem municipality to build a wastewater treatment plant in East Jerusalem in September 2013.[56] This was followed in December by the decision of Vitens, a Dutch water utility company, to cut its ties with Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, citing concerns in relation to the adherence of international laws.[57]  In August 2013, the Swedish-Norwegian bank Nordea excluded Cemex, one of the companies taken up in the Special Rapporteur’s earlier report from its investment portfolio, due to its extraction of non-renewable natural resources from occupied Palestine.[58] Such examples should lead the way for more countries and companies to follow suit, as well as alerting governments to their responsibility to urge companies subject to their authority to act in accordance with international law.

43. While due diligence on the part of businesses is an inherent aspect of corporate responsibility, Governments also have the obligation, as noted by the fact-finding mission on settlements, to take measures to ensure that they do not recognise an unlawful situation arising from Israel’s illegal activities.[59] In this regard, the European Union guidelines which establish that all agreements between Israel and the European Union for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the European Union must now unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 represents a step in the right direction.

44. The Special Rapporteur is also encouraged by the UK government’s recent issuance of guidelines to businesses, which for the first time outlines the risks of trading with Israeli settlements, and specifically warns of the legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory.[60]

  •      Trade with the settlements

45. The diligence shown by the European Union and some of its Member States on the responsibility of businesses operating in occupied Palestine naturally leads to the question: are the same human rights standards applied by countries when it comes to trade relations with the settlements? If the statements protesting the expansion of settlements issued by the European Union and the United States reiterate their illegality and illegitimacy, then their actions should also reflect a genuine commitment to human rights and respect for international law by ceasing trade with the settlements starting with a ban on imports of settlement produce.

46. While produce originating in the Israeli settlements are not entitled to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, fresh agricultural produce exported from the settlements – but mislabelled as ‘made in Israel’ – can still be found on many supermarket shelves across the European Union due to the voluntary nature of labelling requirements Considering the fact that the EU remains one of the most important trading partners for the settlements with annual exports worth $300 million, a ban on settlement produce would have a significant impact. It should also not be forgotten that trade with settlements has adverse ramifications for the Palestinian economy and is  linked to the violation of human rights with respect to Palestinian communities denied access to fertile agricultural land, water and other natural resources.

47. So long as illegal settlements are supported through trade, statements protesting the expansion of settlements from the main trading partners of Israel will have little resonance on the ground, and third party States will continue to be associated with the violation of human rights in occupied Palestine.

IV. The Gaza Strip

48. In the space of six years since this Special Rapporteur assumed this mandate, the population of the Gaza Strip has lived through two major Israeli military operations (Cast Lead in December 2008 to January 2009 and Pillar of Defense in November 2012), and endured Israel’s illegal blockade (in place since June 2007). Both conflicts inflicted disproportionate casualties and devastation on the Palestinian civilian population.  This has been well-documented by the United Nations.[61]

49. Since June 2013, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has worsened. In recent months, the destruction by the Egyptian authorities of most underground tunnels, which although problematic, had been a lifeline to the residents has had a particularly serious impact on the availability of fuel at affordable prices in Gaza. This has led to severe power shortages resulting in shut downs of sewage treatment facilities, and disruptions to specialized health services, such as kidney dialysis, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and incubators, putting the lives of vulnerable patients in Gaza at risk.[62] The frequent closures of the Rafah crossing in recent months have generally prevented access to affordable health care in Egypt, which remains essential given the limitations of the Gaza health system.

50. The most egregious violations of human rights committed by Israel have been in its enforcement using excessive force, of arbitrary access to restricted areas at sea and on land, profoundly affecting the lives of Palestinian fishermen and agricultural farmers and   households dependent upon them. The more pervasive forms of human rights violations also linked to the blockade have been well documented by the Secretary-General (A/68/502), and include inter alia, severe movement restrictions into and out of Gaza from Israel and adverse impacts on the rights of Palestinians in Gaza to education, health and work. In addition, severe export restrictions (and limitations on imports) undermine the potential of the Gaza economy, and accentuate the impoverished conditions that prevail in Gaza.[63] The recent refusal of Israel to allow exports from Gaza to the West Bank, despite a Dutch donation of a container security scanner, is emblematic of the denial of the right to development in Gaza, and undercuts Israel’s claims that its actions are taken to serve genuine security concerns.[64]

  1. Question of apartheid and segregation

51. In 2011 (A/HRC/16/72), the Special Rapporteur reiterated the call made by his predecessor, John Dugard, in 2007 (A/HRC/4/17), for a referral to the ICJ for an advisory opinion on the question of whether “elements of the [Israeli] occupation constitute forms of colonialism and apartheid”.[65]More precisely, he recommended that the ICJ be asked to assess the allegations that the prolonged occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem possess elements of “colonialism”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” inconsistent with IHL in circumstances of belligerent occupation and unlawful abridgement of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people”.[66] Since no advisory opinion has been sought following the aforementioned reports of successive Special Rapporteurs, the present report assumes part of the task of analysing whether allegations of apartheid in occupied Palestine are well-founded. It discusses Israeli policies and practices, through the lens of the international prohibition upon ethnic discrimination, segregation, and apartheid.

  •      Legal Framework

52. Apartheid is prohibited under international law, and Israel, as a State and an occupying power, is bound by this prohibition. Under the First Geneva Protocol, which is declaratory of international law and therefore widely regarded as universally binding, ‘practices of ‘ apartheid ‘ and other inhuman and degrading practices involving outrages upon personal dignity, based on racial discrimination’ are included as grave breaches[67]. Further, the International Law Commission (ILC) has recognised apartheid among the prohibitions that there seems to be “widespread agreement” constitute peremptory norms[68]. In addition, article 3 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), provides that “States Parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction”[69]. At the second Universal Periodic Review of Israel in October 2013, South Africa recommended that Israel “Prohibit policies and practices of racial segregation that disproportionately affect the Palestinian population in the OPT”[70].

53. Apartheid involves the domination of one racial group over another, and some may argue that neither Israeli Jews nor Palestinians constitute racial groups per se. However, article 1 of CERD, in its definition of racial discrimination, makes it clear that “race” is in fact not the sole factor, but that racial discrimination may be based on “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin”. The CERD Committee has stressed that under the definition in article 1 “the Convention relates to all persons who belong to different races, national or ethnic groups or to indigenous peoples”[71].

54. The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (AC) in article 2, provides a detailed definition of the crime of apartheid, providing that it “shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa,” and applies to  “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) echoes these core elements (article 7.2(h)) and further specifies that for such acts to constitute “crimes against humanity” they must be “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack”. Without prejudice to any possible differences in the elements of apartheid as an international crime and an internationally wrongful act, apartheid will be treated as a single concept for the purpose of this report, which will be framed around the inhuman acts laid out in article 2 (a) – (f) AC[72].

  •      Acts potentially amounting to segregation and apartheid

55. Article 2 (a) concerns denial of the right to life and liberty of person, including by (i) murder; (ii) serious bodily and mental harm, infringement of freedom, and torture, and (iii) arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment. With respect to article 2(a)(i), continuing excessive use of force by Israeli Security Forces (ISF) and a lack of accountability for violations of IHL and international human rights law is well-documented by successive UN resolutions and reports[73]. Palestinians are killed as a result of regular Israeli military incursions into occupied Palestine; lethal use of force against demonstrators; official endorsement of targeted killings; and large-scale military operations.[74]

56. According to B’tselem, between 1987 and 2000 approximately 1,400 Palestinians were killed by ISF[75]. After the year 2000, deaths of Palestinians caused by the ISF accelerated with more than 6,500 deaths[76], as of October 2013. Of this number, over 3,000 were civilians not involved in hostilities. B’tselem’s statistics show that during Israel’s operation ‘Cast Lead’ in Gaza, of the 344 children reportedly killed, 318 did not take part in hostilities. During the same operation, of the 110 Palestinian women recorded as killed, two were police officers and the remaining 108 did not take part in the hostilities. During operation ‘Pillar of Defence’, approximately 100 Palestinian civilians were reportedly killed as a result of ISF actions, a third of whom were children.[77]

57. Additional deaths were caused by ISF’s policy of targeted killing which resulted in the killing of approximately 250 Palestinians in the aforementioned period. Moreover, on average, for every one person killed as a target of ISF, one or two other persons have been killed in any given operation. Thus, during the same period, more than 400 Palestinians who were not targets were also killed[78].

  1. 58.  Individual accounts by former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers, published by the Israeli NGO ‘Breaking the Silence’, bear witness to Israeli policy in respect to the occupied people: “Prevention of terror” is the stamp of approval granted to any offensive IDF action in the Territories, obscuring the distinction between the use of force against terrorists and the use of force against civilians. In this way, the IDF is able to justify actions that intimidate and oppress the Palestinian population overall.[79]

59. Under a simple interpretation the term murder, as referred to in the AC, signifies the unlawful taking of life. Therefore, the taking of lives – outside the limited circumstances in which IHL and international human rights law do not absolutely prohibit this – potentially constitutes an element of apartheid, in the context of a systematic and institutional regime in which these unlawful killings form part of acts carried out in order to maintain dominance over Palestinians. The relatively high proportion of civilian casualties caused by ISF in occupied Palestine is notable in this respect.

60. In regard to article 2(a) (ii) and (iii), detention by Israel of Palestinians is closely linked to the occurrence of torture and ill-treatment. According to the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Addameer, in September 2013, there were some 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 137 administrative detainees.[80]Many detainees are transferred to prisons in Israel, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (art.76).[81]

61. In 2012, the CERD Committee urged Israel to end administrative detention, which is discriminatory and constitutes arbitrary detention under international human rights law. [82] Similar recommendations were made by a number of States during the most recent Universal Periodic Review of Israel.[83] The CERD Committee further recommended that Israel ensure equal access to justice for all persons living in territories under its effective control, noting that Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine are subject to a civil law regime, while a military regime applies to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

62. Despite the absolute prohibition of torture[84], Palestinians detained by Israel continue to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment[85]. Methods of torture and ill-treatment reportedly include: sleep deprivation; excessive use of handcuffs; beatings; verbal abuse; stress positions; solitary confinement; humiliation and threats of killing, sexual assault and house demolitions, against the detainee or his or her family[86].

63. In 1999 the Israeli High Court said that using certain methods of physical pressure for the purpose of “breaking” a detainee are unlawful and that interrogation methods must be fair and reasonable, and respectful of human dignity[87]. While representing an important recognition of the illegality of certain methods of torture employed against Palestinian detainees, the decision failed to outlaw torture by allowing the ‘ticking bomb’ or ‘necessity’ defence. According to Addameer, ‘necessity’ is used by interrogators as a blanket defence with little to no accountability[88].  The Public Committee against Torture in Israel reported that of 701 formal complaints of torture submitted from 2001-10, none resulted in a criminal investigation[89].

64. Palestinian children are not exempt. In 2013, UNICEF concluded that “Ill-treatment … appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized[90]” in the case of Palestinian children held in the Israeli Military detention system. Israeli authorities seem to have taken some limited steps towards meeting UNICEF’s recommendations[91], including by piloting test summons in two West Bank areas instead of conducting frightening night arrests of children[92]. While this is clearly a needed development, it also shows just how basic the denial and lack of protection of Palestinian children’s rights is under the Israeli military legal regime. By comparison, Israeli settler children in conflict with the law are subject to regular Israeli law. According to Defence for Children International, as of October 2013, 159 Palestinian children were in Israeli military detention[93]. On average, around 700 children are detained and prosecuted per year, most commonly on charges of throwing stones[94].

65. The regular denial by Israel of the right to life and liberty of significant numbers of Palestinians is reflected in its policies, laws and practices in occupied Palestine.

66. Article 2 (b) refers to the imposition of living conditions calculated to cause a group’s physical destruction in whole or in part. It seems unlikely that Israel’s policies, laws and practices can be said to have as their aim the physical destruction of the occupied people[95].

67. Article 2 (c) concerns measures calculated to prevent participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the full development of a racial group, including and especially by denying them their rights to work, education, to leave and to return to their country, nationality, and freedoms of movement and residence, opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly and association.

Violations of many of these rights have already been touched on in preceding sections. For instance the violations by Israel of the rights to work, education, freedom of movement and residence, as well as freedom of expression and assembly have been illustrated in the context of discussing the wall and its associated regime, and policies and laws related to the development of settlements, including in East Jerusalem. The rights to work, and to freedom of movement, and to leave and return to one’s country, are particularly relevant to Gaza. In the West Bank, the denial of rights to Palestinians is made possible by the existence of parallel legal systems operating in the same territory: one set of civil and criminal laws for Israeli settlers and another for Palestinian Arabs, subject to Israeli military orders, as well as other laws. While the Israeli High Court of Justice formally exercises judicial oversight of the Israeli administration in occupied Palestine, according to NGOs, case law illustrates a trend whereby major policy decisions of government, e.g. relating to the wall and settlements, tend to be immune from judicial intervention, and that human rights and protection under international humanitarian law have not been adequately upheld by the High Court in its rulings[96].  The creation of Israeli legal zones for settlers and the resulting segregation was noted in the 2013 report by the independent fact-finding mission on settlements (A/HRC/22/63). The CERD Committee in 2012 expressed that it was “extremely concerned” at policies and practices amounting to de facto segregation and that it was “particularly appalled at the hermetic character of the separation of the two groups”[97].

68. It is clear that Israeli measures, in the form of policies, laws and practices, have the effect of preventing Palestinians from full participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of Palestine and arguably also prevent their full development in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

69. Article 2 (d) refers to measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines including by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, and the expropriation of landed property.

The expropriation of Palestinian land is an obvious part of the expansion of settlements and of the construction of the wall. The fragmentation of Palestinian land and creation of separate reserves and enclaves, including the plans threatening to cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West bank, is well-documented[98]. The final conclusions of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (Russell Tribunal) state “Israel has through its laws and practices divided the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian populations and allocated them different physical spheres, with varying levels and quality of infrastructure, services and access to resources. The end result is wholesale territorial fragmentation and a series of separate reserves and enclaves, with the two groups largely segregated. The Tribunal heard evidence to the effect that such a policy is formally described in Israel as hafrada, Hebrew for “separation”[99]. The Special Rapporteur has previously drawn attention to the dual system of roads in the West Bank, as a clear example of segregation, where Palestinians are largely relegated to alternative roads and forced to take long detours[100].

70. It seems incontestable that Israeli measures do divide the population of OPT along racial lines, create separate reserves for Palestinians, and expropriate their land.

71. Article 2(e) refers to exploitation of the labour.

There exist historical reports[101]as well as current campaigns and reports[102] which address poor working conditions of Palestinian citizens working in Israel or in settlements. However, it is noted that there has been a sharp drop in Israeli use of Palestinian workers since the 1990s, especially as it is now impossible for Gazans to work in Israel and since in the West Bank the construction of the wall has further diminished the number of Palestinians working in Israel or for Israeli employers[103].

72. Article 2 (f) concerns persecution of those who oppose apartheid.

This provision potentially relates to a wide range of human rights violations against Palestinians in the OPT, who as a people desire self-determination and oppose the segregation, restrictions and discriminatory regime imposed by Israel on them. In this sense, the punitive response often meted out to those who demonstrate against the wall and its associated regime, or more oppose Israeli violations of human rights, arguably fall under this provision.

73. An individual case in point concerns the Palestinian human rights defender and a founder of non-governmental organizations Youth Against Settlements and Hebron Defenders, Issa Amro. In 2012, Mr. Amro was arrested and detained 20 times without charge[104]. At the time of writing, he had been detained multiple times in 2013 and had been hospitalised, allegedly following a beating by ISF while in detention. In August 2013, a number of Special Rapporteurs, including this Special Rapporteur, expressed deep concern at the alleged ongoing judicial harassment, intimidation and abusive treatment of him. According to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya: “This is an unacceptable campaign of harassment, intimidation and reprisals against Mr. Amro, and other human rights defenders who peacefully advocate for the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, including by cooperating with UN human rights bodies”.

74. An example of an Israeli citizen, belonging to the Druze minority, who has reportedly been imprisoned for his conscientious objection to serving in the Israeli Army is Omar Saad. In an open letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence he explained: “I couldn’t imagine myself wearing military uniform and participating in the suppression of my Palestinian people” and asking “How can I be a soldier standing at Qalandia checkpoint or any other checkpoint, after I experienced the injustices at these checkpoints? How can I prevent someone from Ramallah to visit his city, Jerusalem? How can I guard the apartheid wall? How can I be a jailer to my own people while I know that the majority of prisoners are freedom prisoners and seekers of rights and freedom?”[105].

75. It is strongly arguable that those who oppose Israeli measures amounting to apartheid risk persecution because of their opposition.

  •      Systematic oppression

76. None of the human rights violations discussed in the context of possibly constituting “inhuman acts” for the purpose of the AC or the Rome Statute can be said to be isolated events. Rather, their commission reflects systematic and discriminatory Israeli policies, laws and practices, which determine where in the occupied land Palestinians may or may not travel, live and work. Laws and policies have also institutionalised just how lightly a civilian Palestinian life may be weighed, when placed on the scales against claims of overarching security concerns, contrasting with the legal protection of the Israeli constitutional system given to unlawful Israeli settlers. The combined effect of the measures designed to ensure security for Israeli citizens; to facilitate and expand settlements; and it would appear, to annex land, is: “hafrada”, discrimination, and systematic oppression of, and domination over, the Palestinian people.

  1. Concluding Observations

77. Through prolonged occupation, with practices and policies of apartheid and segregation, ongoing expansion of settlements, and continual construction of the wall arguably amounting to de facto annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian territory; the denial by Israel of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is evident. The ILC’s Draft Articles on State Responsibility provide guidance as to the consequences of serious breaches of peremptory norms under international law. In this respect there is authority[106] to suggest that the following prohibitions have attained the status of peremptory norms: Aggression through military occupation and imposition of military blockades on ports and coasts[107], racial discrimination and apartheid, and torture. In addition, the right to self-determination itself has been recognised as a peremptory norm[108] which applies erga omnes[109].

78. Under article 40(2) of the Draft Articles, for breaches of peremptory norms to be “serious”, they must “involve a gross or systematic failure of the responsible State to fulfil the obligation”. Without prejudice to an authoritative determination of whether the breaches of the discussed peremptory norms qualify as “serious”, it is noted that the violations discussed in the context of the prolonged occupation appear deliberate, organised, institutionalised and longstanding. ILC’s commentary considers it likely that competent international organizations, including the Security Council and the General Assembly address such serious breaches. The implications for Member States for serious breaches of this nature include an obligation to cooperate to bring an end to breaches; non-recognition of, and abstention from maintaining, the illegal situation[110].

79. Finally, from the point of view of international criminal law, with the General Assembly’s recognition of Palestinian statehood, the opportunity for Palestine to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC is now clear. While a declaration was already lodged by the Palestinian Minister of Justice in 2009 purporting to accept its jurisdiction “for acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002”[111], it seems the Court’s decision of 3 April 2012[112] on the question of jurisdiction, had the effect of closing the preliminary examination[113]. An acceptance of jurisdiction would potentially bring a measure of accountability for key individuals, and address violations related to the crime of apartheid and other issues flowing from the more than 400 communications on crimes allegedly committed in Palestine, received by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor since 2009[114].

  1. Recommendations

80. In this my final report, I take the opportunity to reiterate some past recommendations and add several new ones, namely that:

81. Palestinian legal rights, including the right of self-determination, be fully respected and implemented in attempts to reach a peaceful and just resolution of the conflict between these two peoples.

82. The General Assembly request the ICJ issue an advisory opinion on the legal status of prolonged occupation of Palestine, as aggravated by prohibited transfers of large numbers of persons from the occupying Power and the imposition of a dual and discriminatory administrative and legal system in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and further assess allegations that the prolonged occupation possesses legally unacceptable characteristics of “colonialism”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”.

83. The HRC appoint an expert group to propose a special protocol to the 4th Geneva Convention with the specific purpose of proposing a legal regime for any occupation that lasts for more than five years.

84. The international community comprehensively investigate the business activities of companies and financial institutions registered in their own respective countries, which profit from Israel’s settlements and other unlawful Israeli activities, and take appropriate action to end such practices and ensure appropriate reparation for affected Palestinians. Member States should consider imposing a ban on imports of settlement produce.

85. Future investigations consider whether other foreign corporate connections with unlawful occupation policies additional to settlements (e.g. separation wall, Gaza blockade, house demolitions, excessive use of force) should not be also deemed ‘problematic’ under international law,  and treated in a manner analogous to the recommendations pertaining to settlements.

86. The Government of Israel cease expanding and creating settlements in occupied Palestine, start dismantling existing settlements and returning its citizens to the Israeli side of the Green Line, provide appropriate reparations for the damage due to settlement and related activity since 1967, and act diligently to protect Palestinians living under Israeli occupation from settler violence.

87. The Government of Israel forthwith lift the unlawful blockade of Gaza, cease military incursions, allow Gazans to benefit fully from their natural resources situated within their borders or off the coast of Gaza, and take account of a deepening emergency in Gaza.

88. The HRC give increased attention to the failure by Israel to cooperate with the normal functioning of the United Nations by way of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967[115], and to the protection of Special Rapporteurs from defamatory attacks diverting attention from substantive issues integral to the mandate.

[1] I.C.J. Reports 2004 (Advisory Opinion), p.136

[2] ES-10/14 (2003)

[3] Op. cit. footnote 1, para.163 (3)

[5]  Advisory Opinion, p.82

[6] Some decisions of the Israeli High Court have reconnected communities with the West Bank. OCHA, Barrier Update (July 2011), p.4

[8] A designated ‘closed military zone’ between the wall and the Green Line

[11]OCHA, Barrier Update (July 2011), p.7,  Also V. Tilley, Beyond Occupation, 2012, p. 151-155

[12]  Advisory Opinion, p.136

[13] OCHA, Barrier Update( July 2011)  p.13

[14] Documentation collected by OHCHR.

[19] The Special Rapporteur believes both re-routings of sections of the wall, and Palestinians leaving due to the wall and its associated regime, have  affected the decrease in numbers.

[20] OCHA, Barrier Update, July 2011, p.10

[23] A/ES-10/599

[24] Rules and Regulations governing the registration of claims, article 11(1).

[25] A/HRC/RES/22/28

 [26] A/68/513 (paras.4-5)

[27] A/HRC/22/63

[28] Outposts are settlements which although often established with some kind of Government support are not officially recognized under Israeli law.

[29] A/63/326, A/HRC/13/53/rev1, A/65/331, A/HRC/16/72, A/66/358, A/HRC/20/32

[31] A/HRC/25/38, A/HRC/25/40, A/68/502 and A/68/513.

[35] A/68/513

[36] Among 136 West Bank settlements listed by Peace Now, 25 settlements falls under the type ‘quality of life’, 35 settlements fall under the type ‘quality of life/ideological’, 70 settlements fall under the type ‘ideological’ and six settlements fall under the type ‘ultra-orthodox’;

[37] Palestinian Centre for Human Rights submission to Special Rapporteur, 22 November 2013

[39] A/68/513 (paras. 42-52)

 [44] A/HRC/25/38 (para.6)

 [47] A/65/331(para.14) and A/HRC/20/32 (para.32)

[48] A/68/513 (paras.30-33)

[51] EU Heads of Mission Jerusalem Report 2012

 [52] Submission to Special Rapporteur by the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (November 2013)

[54] EU Heads of Mission Jerusalem Report 2012

[55] A/67/379, A/HRC/23/21, A/68/376

[58] Palestinian BDS National Committee, submission to Special Rapporteur (November 2013)

 [59] A/HRC/22/63 (paras.116-117)

[61] A/HRC/12/48, A/HRC/22/35/Add.1 and A/HRC/23/21

[65]A/HRC/16/72, para8, A/HRC/4/17,para.10

[66] A/HRC/16/72, para.32(b)

                                     [67] Art. 85(4)(c), A/HRC /16/72

[68] Draft articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, with commentaries 2001. Arts.40-41 and commentaries.

[69] Regardless of the possibility that CERD’s inclusion of apartheid applies exclusively to South Africa, CERD prohibits all forms of racial segregation. General Recommendation XIX,1995

[70] A/HRC/WG.6/17/L.12

[71] A/54/18 (Annex V)

[72] Israel is not a party to the AC and it is debated whether it was intended to apply exclusively to South Africa. Nonetheless, it continues to inform the prohibition of apartheid in international law.

[73] A/68/502, A/67/372, A/66/356, A/65/366, A/HRC/22/35 and A/RES/67/118, A/HRC/RES/22/28 and A/RES/19/16

[74] Russell Tribunal, (2011).

[76] Ibid.

[77] A/HRC/22/35/Add.1

[78] Ibid.

[79] Occupation of the Territories 2000-2010.

[82] CERD/C/ISR/CO/14-16

[83] A/HRC/WG.6/17/L.12

[84] ILC Draft Articles 2001.

[85] A/68/379


The formal complaints may not be representative of the actual number of victims.



                        [95] The United Nations has questioned whether Gaza will be a liveable place in 2020 ( “Gaza in 2020: a liveable                                     place?” 2012). Considering the situation in Gaza,  the Russell Tribunal found Israeli policies aimed at causing                                     displacement of Palestinians, rather than their physical destruction (2011).

                                     [96] Information from Diakonia

[97] CERD/C/ISR/CO/14-16

[98] A/HRC/22/63

[99] Russell Tribunal, Final Conclusions 2007-13.

[100] A/HRC/16/72 (section IV)

[103] Russell Tribunal, (2011).

[106] ILC Draft articles 2001, Chap.III

[107] A/RES/3314(XXIX) Definition of Aggression

[108] ILC Draft articles 2001, Chap.III

[109] Ibid.

[110] Ibid, art.41

[115] In 2013, the Special Rapporteur joined 26 other independent experts in an appeal to Member States to cooperate with their mandates.

 [RF1]I agree but substituted ‘some’ for ‘better’ (as there was none)

78 Responses to “December 2013 Report to UN Human Rights Council on Occupied Palestine”

  1. Gene Schulman March 6, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    “…… that Israel has not built a new settlement or expanded the boundaries of an existing settlement there in over 20 years. All building has taken place within the boundaries of existing settlements.”

    The first sentence is a blatant lie. The second is stupid because even the existing settlements are illegal.

    • Fred Skolnik March 6, 2014 at 1:56 am #

      The last new settlement was established in around 1991. Name a West Bank settlement that was established after that,

      What is built inside the settlements is irrelevant because the fate of each individual settlement will be determined in negotiations. What Israel proposes is a trade-off of territory which will involve around 5 percent of West Bank land and leave three-quarters of the settlements within Israel’s new borders. What the Palestinians will receive is comparable land (bear in mind that most of the settlements were constructed on barren hilltops) or populated land like Wadi Ara where 200,000-300,000 Israeli Arabs live, which should make them very happy to get out of apartheid Israel and into a democratic, egalitarian Palestinian state, don’t you think?

      Try to refrain from using words like lie and stupid or Prof. Falk is liable to remove your comments.

  2. Gene Schulman March 6, 2014 at 2:01 am #

    “… to the Palestinians themselves by encouraging their belief that they can somehow get rid of Israel instead of recognizing it and living with it”

    They have long recognized Israel, and have been living with it for better or for worse. All of the final accusations are true! Fred, you’re overstepping your bounds on this one. Richard has done a wonderful job, and all your polemics will not undo his work.

    • Fred Skolnik March 6, 2014 at 2:08 am #

      I see that you’re not going to name settlements established after 1991.

      No, the Palestinians have not recognized Israel as a reality that is not going to go away and have not reconciled themselves to living with it. That is why they have been talking about destroying it for the last 65 years and teaching their children that everything right up to the Mediterranean Sea belongs to them.

      • Dan Livni March 6, 2014 at 7:41 am #

        The Palestinians refused a 2 state solution with the Peel commission in 1937, 1948, 2000, 2001 and 2008.
        Whose fault is that?
        Do you know why they refused it? Because the Palestinians thought that can get better deal by expelling the Jews.

      • rehmat1 March 8, 2014 at 5:43 am #

        The notorious Belfour Declaration (1917) proposed the two-state solution for the historic Palestine. It was rejected by Zionist Jews when Ben Gurion unilaterally declared state of Israel in May 1948 over 54% of the British madated Palestine. Since then, Israel has sabotaged every “peace meal” dished out by Western powers even before the PLO sat on the dinner table.

      • Fred Skolnik March 8, 2014 at 6:31 am #

        You are a little shaky when you aren’t referencing something. The State of Israel was proclaimed in accordnce with UN Resolution 181 of Nov. 29, 1947:

        “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in part III of this [partition] plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed.”

      • rehmat1 March 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

        You got to be kidding dude. The United States and UN never recognized Israel as a “Jewish state” even on May 14, 1948.

        Last month, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York banned a scheduled appearance by The New Republic’s Jewish senior editor John B. Judis who in his latest book, ‘Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the origin of the Arab/Israeli Conflict‘ has refuted several of Zionist lies about Harry Truman. Judis is also a “visiting scholar” at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Jewish group lobbying for Israel.

        The book challenges the Zionist narrative about President Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948, showing him as a hard-nosed politician trailing in the polls in May of an election year, and being heavily lobbied by American Zionists who then helped ensure his re-election.

      • Fred Skolnik March 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

        The following is Truman’s statement on May 14:

        “Statement by the President. This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto author ity of the new State of Israel.”

        Which section of the moon are you living on, dude?

      • Kata Fisher March 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

        Dear Fred Skolnik:

        Hi! I just want to say that. 🙂

        In the past we were in conflict – I forgive you by good Faith. 🙂

  3. Gene Schulman March 6, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    This is not my blog, but if it were, I would ban both Skolnik and Livni for life from ever commenting here again. They have broken every rule for comments that Richard has laid down. Especially personal insult and dominating space with long irrelevant commentary.

  4. monalisa March 6, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Dear Richard,

    thank you for bringing some results concerning the Palestinians within its circumstances they have to live with into the open to be read by our world community.

    Take care of yourself


  5. monalisa March 6, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    to Gene Schulman,

    I think those people supporting the ill doings of the Israeli government are extremely short sighted.
    If they would read history they would know that political powers rise and fall. And sometimes it could go even quickly.

    In the case of Israel its survival depends on USA and partly EU. If those countries/unions have their own demise to deal with Israel will fall short.

    And if Saudi Arabia will have too much turmoil too there would be no state to support Israel.
    Without any support Israel cannot stand on its own feet.

    PS: And even those writings/postings here on this meeting place denouncng Prof. Falk and still writing lies concerning Israel are too shortsighted. We are living in the 21st century. Without any doubts pictures taken by satellites from the sky show more facts as those persons might like being known.


    • Fred Skolnik March 6, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Such as pictures of Hamas firing rockets from next to schools, mosques, hospitals and residential buildings.

  6. Haitham Sabbah March 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for the report. Can you provide a PDF copy of the report to distribute?

    • Richard Falk March 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

      Dear Haltham Sabbah:

      You can find at website of Human Rights Council, and I will also try to send by email, although
      I have little confidence in my digital capabilities!

  7. oldguyincolorado March 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Fred and Dan, Prof. Falk has only done his job and followed the mandate of the U.N.: report on everything that you can which might show that Israel is in the wrong; ignore any action of the P.A. which might have justified anything that Israel did; never discuss what the PA does to its own people; never discuss anything which might balance your findings; ignore historical truths; be a Pied Piper to lemmings who might actually “buy into” this mandate and resist anyone or anything which could undercut your mandate.

    The goal of the U.N. is fundamentally anti-Semitic; asserts lies about Apartheid with the protagonist (PA along with the rest of the Arab world) actually engaging in ethnic cleansing its areas of Jews (and yes, Christians, too) and panders to Big Oil in the process.

    I feel very comfortable in stating the above – I have asked Prof. Falk to point out to me anywhere, in his blog or reporting, of an example of his casting an unfavorable glance, jaundiced or not, at the PA. I have had no response in the past and frankly do not expect one now. I can only hope (fleetingly of course) that now that his 6 years are over, that the Prof. might take the time to write a book which will include the entire story (until now he only partially reported it) and that it be factual, balanced and honest. No mandate involved.

    I have backed away from his blog because it has been rather frustrating to see the repeated misstatements by some of his lemmings. I have never said that Israel is perfect. Bibi, in a very recent interview, says the same. When you find a PA leadership wiling to say the same of itself, then (and perhaps only then) can this “over 2,000 year old ” problem begin to work its way to a solution satisfactory to both sides. Without the PA looking critically at itself; without it ignoring certain religious mandates imposed upon its people; without it treating all with an eye towards real equality, this is just a “Zero Sum” exercise. It will end in a renewal of a war of attrition. Both sides loose.

    • Kata Fisher March 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      Dear oldguyincolorado,

      If we would getter up all of the facts, concerning all of the people (ancient roots, and in this point in time, as all peoples grafted in within the land) – with all that we already have – what would be a solution?

      We can have a very many components/select particles of the solution/s that have to add on to the one problem solution: the central base of solution.

      The “center” has to hold, and Professor Falk has a very excellent & good – if not perfect base to begin with adding on to the “center” of a solution. What has to be added on, so that there is a complete solution to the problem in the Holy Land?

      That is, what is best solution concerning the Spiritual background, as well as Legal background/Law international. What can International Law do in order to serve religious base and religious confusion in the Land?

      What corner base can you support to add on to the central base of solution?

      Do you have any propositions/outline that will serve all people in the process? can you add to the solution?

      I believe that we all should leave our disagreement in the past (repent of disagreements and conflicts in this setting) and start adding on to things that can be made perfect.

      These are all kind questions and suggestions.

      • oldguyincolorado March 7, 2014 at 10:51 am #

        Dear Kata,

        As I believe I have stated to you before, you sound like a wonderful person. Unfortunately, these “issues” long predate the existence of Israel. Josephus spoke of them as early as 70 AD. For the most part, on the PA/Gaza side, the problems are of a religious and not really of a political nature. Unless you have read the Quo’ran and realize that most of the Islamic world believes that each and every part of it must be implemented in their daily lives, you will never be able to put your arms around the issues involved. This is far bigger than just the West Bank and Gaza. The PA has to live with these religious and political realities. Israel understands these realities, but we in the West choose to ignore them. “Peace” for Israel is not just a “nonaggression” treaty with the PA. It is far bigger than that.

        Jews are not permitted to openly practice their religion in the M.E. How many Jews live in, much less are allowed to be citizens of Gaza, the PA area of the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc? Then, of course, we also have non-Arab Iran to factor into all of this. Which of those countries is democratic? 1.6 million Arabs live under democracy in the M.E. and they all live in one place: Israel. They practice their religion openly, vote, etc. Only when a Jew can do the same in Arab countries will there ever be any “peace” as we Westerners understand that term.

        We have all heard the mantra that “Islam means Peace”; but what type of “peace” does Islam mean? Just read and evaluate the Shuras under “Repentance” in the Quo’ran. Israel would never agree to that type of peace nor would any Christian or non Islamic country. Some Islamists in Syria now impose that type of “peace” and they are not alone in that effort and it is not confined to just this region of the world. Religious wars between Islam and Christianity are being fought as we speak: Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines should be front page news for us in the West. India/Pakistan is another example of contemporary conflicts. Hundreds of thousands (actually millions) have been killed since 1948. Why do we hear so little of this? Is it because they are black or brown? Within Islam itself there are religious wars where people are being killed as we speak; the Saudis have made second class citizens of their brown/black coreligionists, etc. Why is it that the UN spends so much time castigating the one democracy in the mid-east and prejudges it and only gives “lip service” to so many other “real” problems in the world (unless they become so outrageous that they can no longer be ignored)? I could go on – I know that I have already crossed the line with this, but it appears to me that by your questions you seem not to understand what is really happening.

        I could say : “There will be only one way towards a “western style Peace”, and this will require that Israel do what it’s enemies have already done: ethnically cleanse itself.” This is not acceptable to anyone, including Israel. If you look at the history of the 1948 war up until today, you will note that the Arab/Muslim sought more than just ethnic cleansing. It sought a continuance of the Holocaust. The best that Israel can hope for is the type of peace it has (had?) with Egypt. But I believe that this is not practical because there will be no Sinai separating the two. Israel and the PA must live elbow to elbow.

        Just to illustrate my point on a separation of the peoples, Bibi (partly in jest, I am sure, and to demonstrate the real intent of the PA) recently said something like this: 1. “Abbas, we will turn over about a third of the settlements (he means it), but will you allow the Jews in those settlements who wish to do so remain and become citizens of Palestine?” Abbas said “NO”. 2. “Abbas, as part of our settlement and to adjust our borders, there 3 areas in Israel which are almost all Arab and they are Israeli citizens, will you accept these areas and these Arabs as part of what the PA will get?” Abbas said “NO” and so have those Israeli/Arab citizens. My points here are that: 1. no Jew will be allowed to become a citizen of the PA, 2. Arab areas of Israel are not to be transferred (thus preventing a demographic change in the makeup of Israel), 3. Arab/Israelis prefer to be Israelis than living under a PA government of their coreligionists (unless their goal is to keep the demographics as they are: heading towards the ultimate goal of a non Jewish State).

        Honestly, there will not be enough time for a western style peace to fully settle in. That will take decades. Israel does not have “decades”, but the PA does. No matter what “peace” comes about via the political process now taking place, probably it will not last to the end of this century. Israel, at best, is now about 1/2 way through its existence as a Jewish State. Demographics will cause its destruction as a Jewish State. It has a Bedouin population which is the fastest growing ethnic group in the world – it doubles every 15 years. By Israeli/modern standards it is very backward group (by its own choice). By the year 2100 there will likely be over 2.5 million Bedouins in Israel. Add to that the rapidly growing Arab/Israeli population and by 2100 (likely sooner, unless things change) Jews will be a minority in Israel. Unless the entire Israeli/Jewish/Arabic population is really democratically oriented by then, we will have another diaspora of Jews and I do not know where they can then go. My fear is that they will end up being like the Coptic of Egypt or the Christians of Lebanon. The “pull” of an Arab West Bank will probably be too much for the Arab/Israeli to resist (2100 is really not that far off). I would not be surprised if, at that time, via a democratic vote, Israel will merge with the West Bank. Perhaps a further partition of Israel will take place and we will see a separation of the Jewish and non Jewish populations a la India and Pakistan. It will be a traumatic religious separation of peoples. Bibi knows and understands the demographic reality. Perhaps that is why he wishes to intensify Jewish settlements in certain areas – they will become all Jewish land by 2100 and become part of a new Israel which will be much smaller in size than it now is; certainly smaller than the pre-’67 borders. I see no other way. Realistically, does anyone (other than a one state solution now, and this is no solution at all because of the demographics)?

        Goodbye to all (again!).

      • Kata Fisher March 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

        Dear oldguyincolorado:

        As soon as I wrote to you earlier; I had brain-storming for about few minutes, and I understood this:

        Palestinian people are at certain disadvantage at this point in time.

        However, if Palestinian people would accept all requirements of current Israeli state, and settle their grievances by taking all disadvantages that are to be proposed to them by Israeli state – then few other things can also happen (in a future point in time).

        A note about that:

        Israel as a state can be at some abrupt and a major disadvantage even if Palestinian people accept all requirement’s of Israeli state, due to future outcomes that are possible for Palestinian people, independently, in the region; that is, the things that can take place in a future point in time between Palestinian people and other neighboring Arab-Muslim nation’s around Israel state and Palestine.

        Arab-Muslim nations around Holy Land can give Palestinian people their territory of Holy Land, and/or Palestinian people could become part of the territory of other lands, legitimately.

        This brings state of Israel at major disadvantages that will be a possible consequence of an abrupt change, but not visible to us right now. Still, we are to think on this, reasonably.

        Israel as a state can be at advantage and can place certain requirements in this point in time, and yet attain huge disadvantage for them as a state and others; that is, for the next generations of people in the state of Israel, and entire region…in a future point in time.

        Palestinian people will have a greater advantage to attain the rest of the Holy Land territory, independently from Israeli state, rather than the people within the Israeli state will ever have alone, without all Palestinian people.

        By the ecclesiastical Law Palestinian people can be in a peaceful pursuit of the Holy Land Territory from neighboring lands that belongs to Palestinian people, legitimately – if and when they do, at that time people of Israeli state can be and is then automatically a minority at disadvantage in the region of the Holy Land.

        Not only this, because the contemporarily Jewish people in the state of Israel can also become majorly prosecuted minority in that part of Holy Land and the region/the Middle East (just as Palestinian peoples are now a prosecuted minority).

        We can learn from the prior shifts in the confict/power-of-destruction after WWII. We have to watch out for future consequences, – what will be trending, in a way? In this point in time we have to serve all people, equally. We are and will be accountable to do that.

        In addition to that, I have to note this:

        Israel as a state on their own will not have good outcomes in general, and will have greater difficulty in their pursuit of Jewish state (Holy Land). They can try to attain the territory, but will most likely not achieve that, most successfully, because their only way of Jewish Territory pursuit we (as world community) have known is this: against ancient Jewish people (as a armed state, in a armed warfare). Will Israel as a state as most likely plan to continue in that same way? Will grudges and resentment be gone after Israel and Palestine split, just for an example? We have to ask all these questions, now.

        The strength and unity of Jewish as well as Muslim people, and all other in the Holy Land has to be protected by all that is possible, and equally, to all of the peoples in Holy Land has to be a solid support, and a understanding to all.

        With that, without doubt and any fear to be noting all possible disadvantages we can see/understand for all of the people (without any partiality to either side).

        Ethnical removal from Muslim or Jews, and even Christians, and other peoples will not be possible for either side; however, different tribes will always try to dominate and ethnically remove each other and that even with any armed warfare. This type of warfare will be unstoppable in the region, then, and also for how many of the next generations? We should also try to think about that, ask these questions.

        A note:

        In addition to this, my concern is disorder of evangelical/protestant church-charismatic. I this setting, I have in the past indicated by factual evidence situations concerning that.

        I would note that invalid Church is giving council to forging ministers/authorities and is blocking valid and active members – valid and perhaps spiritually oppressed/harassed Church.

        IRD (Institute for Religion and Democracy) is not a valid NGO organization – they are “a church organization of lay-people in privately associating” invalid without oversight as an NGO organization – they would need oversight of independent observers (International Lawyers at best) to observe their Church operations/private ‘church associations’ with government officials.

        They interacted with Palestinian government official, and without imminent oversight, as I understand.

        Likewise, Liberty University Law School and the curriculum should be in independent oversight. This is why: they as a Christian University have International Law curriculum that may be manipulated by invalid Church ideology/practices, and applied to the International community, in practice.

        When Church allows lay-people into the ministry and they and government like to interact in private (internationally) then there has to be International Law in midst of them, and also Church mature and valid one. Otherwise they cause harm, and they hurt that government’s mission: to serve the people they are appointed and accountable to serve.

        The Church can be under spiritual attack and become ineffective, even be overthrown at work, and paralyzed – can not budge, and has to do that.

        But when Church work is totally invalid — or is counterfeit, then that is just a cause for a vacuum of nothing that only breaths the works of death and destroys all good things that can.

        We do hope and pray that breath of God’s Sprit destroys all things that are void and evil, as we can see and understand, in corporate, and not only individually — as this, too, would be questionable.

        An individual understanding has to be seen and understood in corporate, by mature ability, or it is highly questionable and can be invalid.

        I am accountable to make a note on that.

      • Kata Fisher March 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

        I came across this video and it has a relevance to the Israeli and Palestinian situation, possibly – what could possibly take place in the Holy Land. What I was thinking on just earlier.

  8. Haitham Sabbah March 7, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    Dear Sir,

    I got the PDF copy and republished it here:

    Thank you for all your efforts and all the best.

  9. Kata Fisher March 7, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    I just came across this reference / web-link that gives more details:

  10. Mitchell Miller March 7, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    If Palestinians wanted peace, they would stop firing rockets at Israel. Frankly, I do not understand how you could have forgotten about these attacks. Here is a list of 2013 rocket attacks to refresh your memory:,_2013

    Best wishes, Mitchell

    • Richard Falk March 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      As far as I have been able to determine, with respect to Hamas, rockets have been fired almost exclusively
      in retaliation for Israeli targeted assassinations and other attacks, or by dissident militias in Gaza, which
      have been often sanctioned for their provocations by Hamas. I suggest you consider the comparative deaths since
      2009 by cross-border violence. Also the last major rocket fire directed at Israel was in response to the assassination
      of the Hamas leader who was at the time bringing to an Israeli intermediary a text accepting the renewal of a ceasefire
      agreement. The interplay is complicated, but it is certainly misleading to consider Hamas actions in isolation from
      what Israel has been doing on the border even aside from taking into account a total blockade since 2007.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

        Prof. Falk,

        Isn’t it disingenuous for you to demand that Hamas violence not be considered in isolation from Israeli provocation when, for the last six years, you have filed numerous reports condemning Israeli violence with no mention of Palestinian provocations?

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Richard Falk March 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

        Rabbi Youdovin:

        I have tried to make clear that to the best of my knowledge the important provocations have consistently
        come from the Israeli side of the border, and almost all casualties have been on the Palestinian side of the
        border. Besides for the whole period Israel has maintained a comprehensive blockade on Gaza that is widely
        considered a form of collective punishment in violation of Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention. Finally,
        my sense is that Hamas has been generally treated as a terrorist organization in the Western media although
        it has made many efforts since the elections of 2006 to be accepted as a political actor, and this has been
        confirmed to me directly in conversations with Hamas leaders. I do agree with you, however, that a fully adequate
        narrative would look at the violence on both sides of the border via a carefully constructed timeline. Thanks
        for your message, and I hope that I have clarified my position.


      • Fred Skolnik March 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

        Your assertion that Hamas only fires rockets at Israel\s civilian population in retaliation for Israeli attacks is false. Since Hamas is a terrorist organization engaging in acts of terror – thousands by its own count – it is naturally going to lose men. To call these losses provocations on Israel’s part is ludicrous. Hamas launches its attacks for its own purposes and without reference to Israel’s good or bad behavior.

        The fact that Israel is able to protect its civilian population during these attacks while Hamas knowingly and purposely endangers its population is not a “proof” that Israel is in the wrong. Gaza casualties are higher than Israeli casualties because Hamas fires and stores its rockets in proximity to schhols, mosques, hospitals and residential buildings in the hope that this will deter Israel from firing back and in the eventuality that Israel does fire back produce enough casualties to score points in the media. It is totally indifferent to the lives of Gaza’s civilian population.

        The blockade is in place solely to prevent the importation of rockets and other war materials and is legal and legitimate. Since you are aware of this you are trying to tie the blockade to another legal article – referring to collective punishment – in a desperate effort to criminalize Israel at any cost. Populations naturally suffer under blockades. This is not the definition of collective punishment. You do not of course mention that ships transporting supplies other than war materials can dock at Ashdod, have their cargoes inspected and transship them to Gaza via the Israeli crossings, whose capacity the Palestinians do not even utilize fully, finding it more profitable to shake down smugglers using the tunnels.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

        Prof. Falk:

        Thanks for your quick response. I agree that a fully adequate narrative would look at violence on both sides of the border via a carefully constructed timeline. Perhaps this is something the UN’s Human Rights Council should undertake.

        Meanwhile, you’ve made statements that warrant comment.

        The imbalance you cite regarding Palestinian and Israeli casualties is misleading. During the three years prior to Operation Cast Lead (2009), Hamas rained down more than 1000 unprovoked Qassam rockets on Israeli civilians—men, women and children—living in southern Israel. That the missiles did comparatively little physical damage testifies more to the Palestinian’s ineptitude in aiming them than to their peaceful intentions. The Israeli response, while arguably excessive, was intended solely to stop the attacks, which it did for a while. When the barrage picked up again two years later, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense, this time with a greatly reduced profile.

        Legal opinion on the Gaza blockade is not nearly so monolithic as you portray. The UN’s Palmer Commission investigating the Mavi Marmara incident, while criticizing the way in which Israel boarded the vessel, concluded that the naval blockade of Gaza was a “legitimate security measure” to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza. The Commission’s report continued: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

        Finally, with all due respect, testifying to Hamas’ peaceful intentions because Hamas leaders told you so is unpersuasive. Those leaders assuredly knew that you were likely to accept and report uncritically whatever they told you, as happened under similar circumstances in 1979. If Hamas truly wants to be accepted as a legitimate political actor, it will remove from its National Charter its unambiguous commitment to eliminate Israel.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • Mitchell Miller March 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

        Thank you for explaining why there will never be peace in Israel during my life. There is no reason for Israel to trust Hamas, or to enter into an agreement with an organization that wants to destroy them.

        My paternal grandfather moved his family out of Vienna in 1924, after listening to a speech by Hitler. However, Hamas rockets and rhetoric will not convince Jews to leave Israel.

        Everyone who voted for Hamas or supports the Hamas Covenant, lowers the standard of living of Palestinians and Israelis who want peace.

      • Kata Fisher March 9, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

        Dear Mr.Miller

        This is what we hope for: When UN invites Israel and Palestine to end the war – this will also mean that all weaponry and people that have weaponry will be accountable to end the war, immediately, and prior to that imminence.

        I had brain-storming about Hamas and their undefined approach.
        All things are possible in this point in time, and Hamas can be flexible (I hope so).

        Palestinian People are spiritually empowered and are moving in force of divine essence that is stronger than anything else, even any weaponry available. They do not need armed warfare to achieve justice for themselves. They as peoples should not be misrepresented by anyone, even not by Hamas and other self-organized groups of peoples that practiced self-organized warfare/defense (as it cannot be justly and specifically defined for all perceptions applicable).

        I doubt that Hamas and other will continue in armed warfare against Jewish people when they themselves are Jews (ancient). It will be unreasonable for them to misinterpret and misapply the Scripture to themselves. Worse yet it would be for them to misrepresent the People of Palestine – we do not like that for people of Palestine, in fact. We hope that Hamas and other will continue to understand their weakness and their strengths. They can not go against will of descendants of David.

        They will obey the Law International appointed because God and prophets can and will stop them.

        Hamas and other groups of peoples that practiced self-organized warfare/defense (as it cannot be justly and specifically defined for all perceptions applicable) can and will need to shift their approach, and apply soft power, only. This is what exile Palestinian people do and hope for, and also not only Palestinian exiles but majority of the people in Palestine and the Youth in the Land.

        We understand that the Wall that is constructed is a major problem in the Holy Land, and is taking up fertile grounds and much of the space that can be used for economic development in Holy Land (on both sides), regardless what people decide to do and approach concerning peaceful resolution (parted or unified).

        These self-organized groups should start peacefully focusing on that Wall constructed, and with that insure that they are responsible for security of Israeli citizen in Holy Land; meaning, they have to control their organizational undertaking, and also make sure that there are no uncontrolled incidence of warfare against people of Israel and also people in Palestine.

        Right now Israeli have security issues and they are somewhat forced to have the wall?

        When comes to the Israeli soldier – they can and will keep their appointed orders. However, people that are self-organized have to become self-controlled with that, also. And Hamas and other groups will be accountable for individual occurrence of warfare against Israeli citizens, as well as violation of will of Palestinian people. The sooner they start planning the shift in their approach better outcomes can be for all.

        Also prisoners would have to be transitioned, and that will be another worth wile pursuit for Hamas and other groups of peoples that practiced self-organized warfare/defense (as it cannot be justly and specifically defined for all perceptions applicable). This is humanitarian effort that Israeli security forces will have to allow and insure toward Palestinian people, as they reach Palastenian prisoners .

        A note: There are reports that Israeli government is planning to force Jewish religious orders against their will of conscience to serve in Israeli military. This is violation of the Spiritual realities and is illegal toward Jews in Israel. It is spiritual attack against Jewish religious orders. This needs to stop. They can not go against will of descendants of David.

        In general Jewish people (and all others of Faith) are prosecuted in spiritual, as well as natural.

      • Richard Falk March 10, 2014 at 7:25 am #

        Thanks, Kata Fisher, for this meditation, the tenor of which I share. Except for the hope that
        change will come when the UN acts. I believe change can only come with some signs of flexibility
        on both sides, but the dominant side must show a signal that it is ready for a just peace. The South
        African leadership decisively made the point when it released Nelson Mandela from prison. This was
        the sea change that produced peace and some reconciliation, although the quest for justice continues.

        To analogize Hitler’s mad fanaticism to the Hamas Covenant is deeply misleading, and is a path that
        leads to oppression and violence, and refuses to allow the other to change.

      • Kata Fisher March 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

        Dear Professor Falk,

        I fully agree with you, and also understand that it is very difficult to accuse self-organized groups of peoples and tribes in a legitimate practice of self-defense and attribute to them WW II war-crimes because this approach or view lacks even the basic fairness: ethics.

        With that shortfall alone, one can have difficulty to evaluate (in the context of historical occurrence / appearance) the problem itself. When we reflect on some historical events we cannot apply some out of the ordinary interpretations to those events, unless, it is something that is only more visible (and is still the same-old) but in this contemporarily time and context manifested.

        Unethical perceptions give us vast areas of detours in our explanation and for this cause: to be in a consistent avoidance to address the main problem and its cause and effect – what we see by those implemented actions in that context in which problem itself was birthed, and then was manifested from its point of start (when the landmarks were imposed on population of the Holy Land) to this day.

        We understand now by the appearance of the works of those who established those post WW II landmarks, and now we see in the fullness of the day their intended cause. Without doubt in our conscience, we also have historical evidence that this is true and adds to our understanding:

        I do not do this to offend anyone.

        In this point in time Palestinian people are without any lasting rights that were simply taken away by a people/generation ahead of them, and this generation keeps in the same pattern and the foot-steps.

        We also understand that there will be no just outcome for the people in the Holy Land as long as Palestinian prophets are kept imprisoned and Spirit of God is strong-held and is submitted to a captive state in those quiet places.

        The prisons are holding people that need to be free and safe in the Holy Land which is their legitimate inheritance.

        We hope for that.

  11. Rabbi Ira Youdovin March 7, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Gene Schulman and Fred Skolnik are both right on some aspects of their exchange on the West Bank settlements, but wrong on others.

    Skolnik is correct that the Israeli government has neither established nor endorsed new West Bank settlements since the early 1990’s. But a significant number have been started by individuals and groups working without government approval. The government has not recognized these, and indicates that they will be removed should a peace agreement require it. The only government-authorized expansion has been in areas Israel intends to keep in return for equal amounts of land inside Israel that will be absorbed into the new state of Palestine. However, it must be emphasized, as Schulman does, that this is Israel’s vision of what a peace treaty would look like, and has not been negotiated with the Palestinians. On the contrary, it’s a disincentive to Palestinian moderates who might otherwise be eager to negotiate peace but are wary, with justification, that Israel isn’t being sincere.

    Schulman is wrong that the Palestinians “have long recognized Israel.” Referring to “the Palestinians” is, itself, a misnomer in that a suggests community of monolithic opinion on Israel that doesn’t exist. The Palestinian body politic is torn by a radical disagreement between those who seek accommodation with Israel (represented by Fatah), and those who remain committed to destroying Israel either through violence or by overwhelming its essential character with a floodtide of refugees (represented by Hamas). Schulman may be forgiven for his error because the misconception is also asserted by Prof. Falk, who whitewashes as “vague aspirations.” rejectionist and sometimes genocidal commitments stated in the Hamas Charter and repeated by Hamas leaders .

    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

    • Kata Fisher March 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

      Strengthening of friendship and partnership between Israel and Palestine would be the best practice.

  12. rehmat1 March 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    On Sunday, in an interview with former Israeli prison guard-turned journalist Jeffrey Goldberg – Barack Obama warned Netanyahu and all Israeli lovers that Kerry’s proposed peace plan could be the last hope for Israel to survive in the Middle East. The interview was published on March 2, 2014 at the Jewish website Bloomberg.

    “If Netanyahu does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach. And as I said before, it’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible,” Goldberg quoted Obama saying.

    “Obama was blunter about Israel’s future than I’ve ever heard him. His language was striking, but of a piece with observations made in recent months by his secretary of state, John Kerry, who until this interview, had taken the lead in pressuring both Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to agree to a framework deal. Obama made it clear that he views Abbas as the most politically moderate leader the Palestinians may ever have. It seemed obvious to me that the president believes that the next move is Netanyahu’s,” commented Goldberg.

    “On the subject of Middle East peace, Obama told me that the U.S.’s friendship with Israel is undying, but he also issued what I took to be a veiled threat: the U.S., though willing to defend an isolated Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies, might soon be unable to do so effectively,” says Goldberg.

  13. rehmat1 March 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Rewriting Israel’s history by a Jewish writer.

  14. Gene Schulman March 8, 2014 at 3:32 am #


    It is only normal that your final report would bring out all the trolls to condemn your fine work. It is their last chance to spread their propaganda – lies, misreadings, and twisting of facts and history – so that your reasoned assessments of the facts should be belittled. We, who know better, continue to salute you.

    I would hope that now your official duties have come to an end, you will continue to inform us of the situation in the Israel/Palestine conflict with your usual expertize and acumen. Yours is a wise voice in the gusty winds of Zionist hate for all things critical of its policies.

    I hope we will be able to meet up in Geneva later this month. Gilad will also be here for a conference on the 20th.

    Warm regards,


    • Fred Skolnik March 8, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      Despite being labeled by you a troll, liar and propagandist, I will reply politely that the picture of the Arab-Israel conflict emanating from Prof. Falk’s reports and comments is based on an uncritical presentation of “evidence” that no serious historian or legal scholar would permit himself and is of the sort that real historians investigating events immediately discard as biased or unreliable.

      • Gene Schulman March 8, 2014 at 6:46 am #

        I don’t think Richard purports to be a historian. His mandate at the UN was to report on current events applying to the occupied Palestinian territories. And I believe he has done an excellent job of it given all the obstacles Israel put in his way.

      • Fred Skolnik March 8, 2014 at 6:59 am #

        He is certainly not an historian but as a legal scholar he understands very well that hearsay evidence is inadmissable, for reasons I am sure he would know how to explain to his students.

      • Richard Falk March 8, 2014 at 7:40 am #

        These issues of my academic qualifications are irrelevant. It is my long experience that the issues of most
        fundamental concern to both peoples are clear enough that it is not necessary to be a legal scholar or historian
        to come to an objective understanding of the relevance of international law and international morality to achieving
        a just and likely sustainable peace. What has deformed the process is not law or morality, but the effort by the
        stronger side militarily and economically to allow the logic of hard power to prevail. The Netanyahu approach
        epitomizes this logic, and seems opposed significantly only by those in Israel that would push this process so hard
        as to alienate the United States and greatly strengthen relying on a soft power legitimacy war.

        Bottom line, acknowledging this distinction between power and rights is the basic reality. True, history and law
        can be interpreted to justify hard power oppression of the worst kinds. The European colonialists, indeed all colonial
        masters, developed very sophisticated reasons why the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere should be dispossessed,
        to make way for ‘an empire of liberty.’ Slavery, too, had its supporters. The issue underlying all the polemics is one
        of ideology and unequal power. I stand with those who in the context of Israel/Palestine stand for equality and justice
        as between the two peoples, nothing less, nothing more.

      • Richard Falk March 8, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        These issues of my academic qualifications are irrelevant. It is my long experience that the issues of most
        fundamental concern to both peoples are clear enough that it is not necessary to be a legal scholar or historian
        to come to an objective understanding of the relevance of international law and international morality to achieving
        a just and likely sustainable peace. What has deformed the process is not law or morality, but the effort by the
        stronger side militarily and economically to allow the logic of hard power to prevail. The Netanyahu approach
        epitomizes this logic, and seems opposed significantly only by those in Israel that would push this process so hard
        as to alienate the United States and greatly strengthen those relying on a soft power legitimacy war to change the
        balance of power, and demonstrate that in this century it is soft power that controls historical agency.

        Bottom line, acknowledging this distinction between power and rights is the basic reality. True, history and law
        can be interpreted to justify hard power oppression of the worst kinds. The European colonialists, indeed all colonial
        masters, developed very sophisticated reasons why the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere should be dispossessed,
        to make way for ‘an empire of liberty.’ Slavery, too, had its supporters. The issue underlying all the polemics is one
        of ideology and unequal power. I stand with those who in the context of Israel/Palestine stand for equality and justice
        as between the two peoples, nothing less, nothing more.

      • Gene Schulman March 8, 2014 at 8:05 am #

        I think this link to an article I just read today is relevant to your elegant post:

      • Gene Schulman March 8, 2014 at 8:10 am #

        And it doesn’t even touch on Israel’s role as the West’s avant gard.

    • Fred Skolnik March 8, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      Prof. Falk

      If the issue of the specific rights and wrongs of the Middle East conflict – who started the wars or what sequence of events produces given realities – were irrelevant, you wouldn’t be going to such great lengths to justify the Palestinians and criminalize Israel, and it is in this context that I call into question the manner in which you build your case.

      It is too easy to talk about the exercise of “hard power” to characterize relations between a country that wins a war and a country that loses a war. Of course the defeated nation is in an inferior position, just as Germany was in an inferior position during the Allied occupation. This does not diminish the guilt of Germany or delegitimize the position of the Allies.

      As for implying that the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel reeks of colonialism, taking as a starting point the characterization of the Palestinians as an indigenous population and Palestine as their ancient homeland, this certainly overlooks too many facts of history, including the historic and continuous connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and the Arab conquest of the Middle East.

      Whatever Israeli hardliners may think, the proposals that Israel is making are fairly reasonable – mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine as national states, land swap, limited return of refugees, security, and an as yet unfound solution for Jerusalem. This is the practical framework. I think that anyone who observes the Palestinian side closely would have to conclude that the Palestinian leaders are not ready to reconcile themselves to Israel’s existence, or in the less extreme case (Abu Mazen’s) lack the courage and standing to reach a settlement. It depends entirely on them. My feeling is that the Palestinian leaders simply do not care enough about the welfare of the Palestinian people to relinquish their apocalyptic visions of jihad and conquest.

      • Richard Falk March 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

        To Fred Skolnik:

        You make some serious points, but we disagree on how to interpret the complexities:
        –in my view, the international law and historical issues are not irrelevant, but are quite clear in the
        manner in which they should be resolved;
        –it is misleading to analogize the occupation of Germany after WW II with the Israeli occupation; from the
        outset Israel had important territorial ambitions that involved direct encroachment of Palestinian rights: settlements,
        water, Jerusalem;
        –Israeli peace proposals are only ‘fairly reasonable’ if construed from an exclusively Israeli perspective; they do
        not proceed on the basis of equal rights for equal peoples, and without subscribing to such a premise with sincerity,
        no agreement will be sustainable, and if accepted by the PA, will not be viewed as ‘legitimate’ by a significant portion
        of the Palestinian people;
        –contrary to what you seem to believe about my views, I favor a just and sustainable peace that seeks security for both
        peoples and reflects genuine agreement by the parties; at present, the conditions to reach such an agreement do not exist
        on either side, and so the negotiations underway cannot lead to positive results.

      • Fred Skolnik March 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

        Prof. Falk

        I don’t wish to impose an interminable exchange of views on you. I will comment only that Israel had no territorial ambitions in June 1967 but responded to a threat that was perceived by its leaders and population as aiming at the destruction of the country. The evolution of the settlement movement proceeded against the background of the Arab refusal to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel or even pronounce its name (Khartoum), creating a vacuum in the West Bank given the fact that Jordan itself had illegally annexed it. Rightly or wrongly, the settlements are there and the solution to the problem is also there for all to see as I have indicated and as moderate people on both sides understand it to be, including Netanyahu.

      • Gene Schulman March 9, 2014 at 1:52 am #

        Fred, it’s interesting that you say you don’t wish to impose an interminable exchange of views with Prof.Falk, yet you persist in doing so. Allow me to stand in for him here.

        Typically, when you offer an argument it is a twisting of the truth in order to make it seem that you know what you’re talking about. In this case you say that Israel was responding to a threat, but in reality, even the Israelis have admitted there was no threat to itself. They began a preemptive war because they knew they could defeat their supposed attackers and grab land while they were at it. The taking of the Golan Heights under cover of the murderous attack on the USS Liberty was an example of that. The occupation of the West Bank is another. And rather than return the captured lands, they decided to illegally keep them. All of this is on the record.

      • Fred Skolnik March 9, 2014 at 3:50 am #

        Dear Gene

        It may be that you believe what you’re saying or want to believe what you’re saying but you have no real understanding of the period leading up to the Six-Day War. Israel did not seek the war and its leaders were not certain of its outcome. Dayan himself announced that the hospitals should prepare to receive tens of thousands of casualties. If Israeli army officers were confident that they could defeat the Arabs, that does not diminish the threat posed by the movement of six Egyptian divisions (100,000 men) and 1,000 tanks into Sinai in the direction of Israel’s border, especially in view of Nasser’s rhetoric and the war hysteria in the Arab capitols. As for Jordan, the fact is that Israel virtually begged King Hussein not to join the other Arab countries in attacking Israel and guaranteed that Israel would not act against Jordan if he didn’t (communicated to Hussein through General Odd Bull of the UN Truce Supervision Organization as well as through the U.S. State Department). The response was the unprovoked and indiscriminate shelling of Jewish Jerusalem on the night of June 5, hitting 500 buildings and killing 15 civilians. (Hussein afterwards explained himself in terms of Arab manhood.) This was an act of war, as was the closing of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt. We don’t need you to determine for us what is or is not a threat and how to defend ourselves. You can believe what you like but I will state again that Israel had no territorial ambitions prior to the war. What the army obviously did have were contingency plans that covered all eventualities, including the possibility that Israel would occupy the West Bank in a war initiated by Jordan and how it proposed to administer it under a military government. Nothing was further from anyone’s mind than establishing civilian settlements there. As for returning the West Bank, had Hussein responded to Israel’s peace overtures immediately after the war, he would have gotten everything back with the exception of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and possibly Gush Etzyon. That is the truth of the matter and I state it as someone who lived through these events and know precisely what Israel wanted and was prepared to do in return for peace.

      • Gene Schulman March 9, 2014 at 4:15 am #

        Fred, you may have lived through those events, but if so, you were probably blinded by all the propaganda that blinded so many others and applauded the great victory of David over Goliath and made Jews so proud around the world. Even I felt some empathetic pride at the time. But subsequent Israeli behavior quickly opened my eyes.

        Tom Segev, in his magisterial “1967”, describes a rather different picture of events than you do. He is not the only historian that does so.

      • Fred Skolnik March 9, 2014 at 4:29 am #

        All Segev says is that there was no existential threat to Israel. That turned out to be perfectly true but you don’t allow an enemy that has vowed to destroy you to initiate a war because you believe you can survive it. And in the case of Jordan there was no preemptive strike. And please don’t tell me that I was blinded by propaganda. There was no propaganda. There was a sense that a great military victory had been won and a sigh of relief.

  15. Dan Livni March 12, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    is trying to defend Jews in East Jerusalem, which all of Jerusalem has been the Capitol of Israel historically.
    When you have Palestinian terrorists trying to kill hundreds of Jews in East Jerusalem to ethnic cleanse Jews, do you think Israel should do nothing
    East Jerusalem man accused of trying to blow up apartments
    Shin Bet arrests suspect for attempted sabotage of gas lines in several Jewish-inhabited Jerusalem buildings
    March 12, 2014

    A middle-aged Arab resident of East Jerusalem tried repeatedly to tamper with gas lines and blow up residential buildings in the Jewish neighborhoods of Gilo and Armon Hanatziv, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement Wednesday.

    Aziz Awizat, a resident of Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, confessed under questioning that the accidental gas explosion that killed three people in Jerusalem in mid-January served as an inspiration. “Subsequently, Awisat reached the decision to carry out an attack along similar lines, with the intent of toppling a building, resulting in the deaths of its Jewish inhabitants,” the Shin Bet wrote.

    On February 23, Awisat, 49, approached a building on Alexander Rubowitz Street in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. He tampered with the gas lines, the Shin Bet said, with the express intent of starting a fire and detonating the building.

    Several days later, in early March, he tried again, in both Armon Hanatziv and Gilo. Although, in one instance, he left a lit candle alongside the building’s gas pipes, the gas did not ignite and no damage was done.

    Awizat, arrested in March, also confessed to an April 2012 attack outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. At the time, he assaulted an ultra-Orthodox Jew with an ax, lightly injuring him. Awizat’s interrogation, the Shin Bet said, is ongoing.

    • Gene Schulman March 12, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      Mr. Livni, try this one on for size, Do you think Palestinians should sit around waiting for Israelis to slaughter them at will? Since when has all of Jerusalem been the historical Capitol of Israel (sic)?

      • Fred Skolnik March 12, 2014 at 6:44 am #

        If you are using Mondoweiss as a source of information, you are pretty deperate. Do you or Mondoweiss even understand what Hamas means when it announces that their people were killed in a “work accident”? And when you stick in that “sic,” are you suggesting that Israel is a misnomer, didn’t exist historically, had no capitol city? Got anything on Modoweiss to reference for that?

      • Fred Skolnik March 12, 2014 at 8:57 am #

        No, Gene, a moron is someone who quotes Mondoweiss and thinks he’s put the ZioJews in their place.

  16. Karin Brothers May 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    How can we help the Palestinians? And how can we support your further work? Your work has been inspirational to us who have been devoted to working for justice.

    • Richard Falk May 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Dear Karin Brothers:

      Thanks for such encouragement! We need this spirit of self-empowerment so as to act in solidarity
      with Palestinian resistance. Participating via BDS and supporting shifts in the political climate
      can help create the sorts of pressure that could lead toward a just peace at some point in the future.
      If change will come, it will come at first from the mobilization of people, not governments.


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