49th Human Rights Council Reports

Report on the Occupied Palestinian Territories


March 24th, 2022: Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

All sources used to draft the report can be found here. The report was drafted by Samantha Khoo on March 29th, 2022.

Composition of the HRC

Main Report

On the 24th of March, the Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967; heard the High Commissioner for Human Rights present reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on its agenda item seven on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories; and then held a general debate on the agenda item.

Presentation of Report

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said the past six years had been momentous with regards to developments in the occupied Palestinian territory. Unfortunately, the majority of these advances had been depressing and in violation of international human rights norms. There had been multiple moments of strong and destructive violence against Palestinians under Israeli military rule, with significant loss of life and property, notably in Gaza during the Great March of Return in 2018 and the brief explosive assault on Gaza in May 2021. The Israeli occupation had grown increasingly entrenched and harsh as it entered its fifty-fifth year, with no end in sight. The year 2021 was the bloodiest in terms of Palestinian casualties at the hands of the Israeli military since 2014. In 2021, settler violence against Palestinians reached a new peak, surpassing the previous high of 2012, when records were initially compiled. In addition, the Israeli military's demolition of Palestinian homes has been steadily increasing. According to the Special Rapporteur, everyone must acknowledge and condemn the murders of innocent Israeli citizens at this time since there has been much too much killing on both sides of the occupation.

The report's main focus was on whether Israel's acquisitive and oppressive policies had evolved from an indefinite occupation into something darker, harsher, and more foreboding over the length of its 55-year-long rule. Had the situation deteriorated to the point of apartheid? The Special Rapporteur concluded that the political system of entrenched rule in the occupied Palestinian territory met the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid, based on the accepted three-part test from the 1973 United Nations Convention

Against Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. First, an institutionalised regime of systematic racial oppression and discrimination had been established. Second, this system of alien rule had been established with the intent to maintain the domination of one racial-national-ethnic group over another. And third, the imposition of this system of institutionalised discrimination with the intent of permanent domination had been built upon the regular practice of inhuman(e) acts. This was apartheid. With the eyes of the international community wide open, Israel had imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world.

Michael Lynk said the Israeli settlements were illegal. Annexation was illegal. The denial of Palestinian self-determination was illegal. Human rights abuses were rife. The Fourth Geneva Convention applied in full. None of the countless United Nations resolutions had been obeyed, and nothing had been imposed on Israel to bring it into compliance with the rules-based international order. International law was not intended to be a raincoat that could be folded at the first sign of rain. If the international community had accompanied these resolutions with resolute accountability and consistency decades ago, as it is now with the invasion and occupation of Ukraine, the question of Palestine would have likely been resolved in a just and lasting manner many years ago, and no one would have to talk about apartheid today.

Statement by Country Concerned

Israel was not present in the room to take the floor as a country concerned.

Palestine, speaking as a country concerned, said that the report reviewed a number of daily and continuous violations by the occupying power. It also alluded to the physical separation of the occupied State of Palestine's regions of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, as well as the occupying power's expropriation of natural resources and their exploitation by settlers. Also noted were racist legislation that gave Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, extensive rights and living circumstances while imposing military authority and control on Palestinians without any of the basic protections of international humanitarian and human rights law. The apartheid laws approved by the Israeli Knesset, such as the Nationality Law, the Citizenship Law, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Planning and Building Law, in addition to the Settlement Law and dozens of other laws, constituted a discriminatory legal system.

The Israeli Head of Government and most of his Ministers had declared that they were against the establishment of the State of Palestine; they rejected any political negotiations and worked to continue and consolidate the de facto rule, which constituted an apartheid regime. This was a crime against humanity as stipulated in international humanitarian law, as well in the Rome Statute and in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Israel, with its practices, had gone beyond the classic concept of apartheid - by imposing a system of colonial settlement and complete apartheid, which required the international community to pressure the occupying power to end its occupation,

dismantle the apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, and prevent the provision of military aid to Israel.

Interactive Dialogue

Speaking in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur were Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Morocco (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Qatar, Indonesia, Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Namibia, China, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Malaysia, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, Mauritania, South Africa, Bangladesh, Turkey, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tunisia, Algeria, Timor-Leste, Jordan and Iran.

Also speaking were Amnesty International, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Institute for NGO Research, Ingenieurs du monde, Norwegian Refugee Council, Palestinian Return Centre Ltd, Al Meezaan Centre for Human Rights, and Palestine Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy.

Speakers at the subsequent interactive dialogue said that Israel's apartheid rule has been visible in its policies since the occupation, including land grabs and settlement construction, as well as illegal demographic shifts and strategic division of the territory. In the Gaza Strip, millions of people lacked access to health care. The invading power was able to operate with impunity. Israel has flagrantly disregarded its international duties, robbing Palestinians of their basic rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of return. One of the most prominent examples of their strategy was that, since Israel's occupation, mass and grave expulsions, direct and secondary deportations, and population transfers have continued, in violation of Israel's obligations as an occupying force under the Geneva Conventions and international law.

Some speakers claimed that Israel was perpetrating apartheid in Palestinian land and that this apartheid government needed to be removed through all legal methods. Israel must be held accountable by the international community, including through sanctions and support for efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court. The ongoing breaches of Palestinian civilian rights, including Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, were condemned. Millions of people have their rights denied as a result of systematic oppression. It was the world community's responsibility to put a stop to this dreadful situation. The Palestinian people had the right to an independent, free and sovereign State, established as per the pre-1967 borders, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

All parties should implement the relevant United Nations resolutions. The violations of the rights of the Palestinian people showed Israel's disregard for international law and international humanitarian law. Its imposition of the apartheid regime against the defenceless Palestinian people had been manifest through many policies, including home demolitions and expansion of settlements. The colonial policy not only violated their fundamental rights, but also resulted in land fragmentation and population change in Palestine. The world community must denounce apartheid and take action to end the atrocity and bring justice to the

Palestinian people in their rightful cause by recognizing an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds Al Sharif as its capital. Israel's use of violence to perpetuate its colonialism was increasing all the time. Everyone was well aware of the long-term consequences of racism and prejudice. The international community, particularly the United Nations, must ensure that the Palestinian people's rights are protected. Those who supported the apartheid regime were on the wrong side of history.

Concluding Remarks

Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, said the international community needed to develop a comprehensive list of accountability measures to apply to Israel until it complied with international law and terminated the occupation. Any peace effort had to start on the basis of five principles. Because of the massive power imbalance, a vigorous international action was required. A rights-based strategy was also required. The ultimate objective should be Palestinian self-determination, and Israel should be recognized as a bad faith occupier, as this was not an honest strategy, but rather a persistent display of defiance to retain the occupation's fruits. The report's suggestions were straightforward.


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace