Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fighting Anti-Judaism in Hebron Part 4

Today is still Day 14,250 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

Within the borders of Hebron, one of the biggest Arab cities in the West Bank, are 120,000 Palestinians. In the old city of Hebron, there are 650 Jewish Israeli squatters and 30,000 Palestinians.

Time for a diversion from Judaism to just plain old internation basic human rights - much of which came from Jewish teachings - and a report about actions of the Israeli government in the West Bank.

Israel - the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Here is the original unedited report and the concluding observations from the Seventieth Session of the English Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held from 19 February - 9 March 2007. The Committee considered the tenth to thirteenth periodic reports of Israel, submitted as one document (CERD/C/471/Add.2), at its 1794th and 1795th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1794 and 1795), held on 22 and 23 February 2007. At its 1810th and 1813th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1810 and 1813), held on 6 and 8 March 2007, it adopted the following concluding observations.

This committee is reporting pursuant to The United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19, which provides: "The States Parties to this Convention, Considering that the Charter of the United Nations is based on the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin

This convention was signed by Israel: 7 March 1966 and ratified by Israel: 3 January 1979

Article 5 provides:

In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:
(a) The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
(b) The right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual group or institution;
(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections-to vote and to stand for election-on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;
(d) Other civil rights, in particular:
(i) The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;
(ii) The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country;
(iii) The right to nationality;
(iv) The right to marriage and choice of spouse;
(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
(vi) The right to inherit;
(vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
(viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression;
(ix) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:
(i) The rights to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favourable remuneration;
(ii) The right to form and join trade unions;
(iii) The right to housing;
(iv) The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services;
(v) The right to education and training;
(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities;
(f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.

ISRAEL - The Occupied Palestinian Territories

32. The Committee reiterates its concern about the position of the State party (I have added "Israel" after each use of the phrase "State party") that the Convention does not apply in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights. Such a position cannot be sustained under the letter and spirit of the Convention, or under international law as also affirmed by the International Court of Justice. The Committee is concerned at the State party’s (Israel's) assertion that it can legitimately distinguish between Israelis and Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the basis of citizenship. It reiterates that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

The Committee recommends that the State party (Israel) review its approach and interpret
its obligations under the Convention in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context, and in the light of its object and purpose. The Committee also recommends that the State party (Israel) ensures that Palestinians enjoy full rights under the Convention without discrimination based on citizenship and national origin.

33. The Committee, while noting that the Supreme Court has recommended that the course of the wall be changed to prevent disproportionate harm on specific Palestinian communities, is concerned that the State party (Israel) has chosen to disregard the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Committee is of the opinion that the wall and its associated regime raise serious concerns under the Convention, since they gravely infringe a number of human rights of Palestinians residing in the territory occupied by Israel. These infringements cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order. The Committee recommends that the State party (Israel) cease the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, dismantle the structure therein situated and make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall. The Committee also recommends that the State party (Israel) take action to give full effect to the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

34. The Committee is deeply concerned that the severe restrictions on the freedom of movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories targeting a particular national or ethnic group, especially through the wall, checkpoints, restricted roads and permit system, have created hardship and have had a highly detrimental impact on the enjoyment of human rights by Palestinians, in particular their rights to freedom of movement, family life, work, education and health. It is also concerned that the Order on Movement and Travel (Restrictions on Travel in an Israeli Vehicle) (Judea and Samaria), of 19 November 2006, which bans Israelis from transporting Palestinians in their vehicles in the West Bank, except in limited circumstances, has been suspended but not cancelled. The State party (Israel) should review these measures to ensure that restrictions on freedom of movement are not systematic but only of temporary and exceptional nature, are not applied in a discriminatory manner, and do not lead to segregation of communities. The State party (Israel) should ensure that Palestinians enjoy their human rights, in particular their rights to freedom of movement, family life, work, education and health.

35. The Committee notes with concern the application in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of different laws, policies and practices to Palestinians on the one hand, and to Israelis on the other hand. It is concerned, in particular, by information about unequal distribution of water resources to the detriment of Palestinians, about the disproportionate targeting of Palestinians in house demolitions and about the application of different criminal laws leading to prolonged detention and harsher punishments for Palestinians for the same offences. The State party (Israel) should ensure equal access to water resources to all without any discrimination. The Committee also reiterates its call for a halt to the demolition of Arab properties particular in East Jerusalem and for respect for property rights irrespective of the ethnic or national origin of the owner. Although different legal regimes may apply to Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinians the State party (Israel) should ensure that the same crime is judged equally not taking into consideration the citizenship of the perpetrator.

36. The Committee is concerned about the excavations beneath and around Al-Aqsa Mosque and the possible irreparable damage these may cause to the Mosque. While stressing that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an important cultural and religious site for people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Committee urges the State party (Israel) to ensure that the excavations in no way endanger the Mosque and impede access to it.

37. The Committee is concerned by the persistence of violence perpetuated by Jewish settlers, in particular in the Hebron area. The Committee recommends that the State party (Israel) increase its efforts to protect Palestinians against such violence. The State party should ensure that such incidents are investigated in a prompt, transparent and independent manner, are prosecuted and sentenced, and that avenues for redress are offered to the victims.

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