Israel uses excessive force and annexation in Palestinian territories – UN report + UN expert: Palestinian terror ‘inevitable’ result of occupation

30 September 2003 –
Israel is using excessive force in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), violating human rights in the name of counter-terrorism, and its building of a “separation wall” and expansion of settlements bear the hallmarks of annexation and illegal “conquest,” according to a United Nations human rights report released today.While acknowledging Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to take strong action to prevent suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights for the OPT, John Dugard, says the lawfulness of Israel’s response is to be measured in accordance with the principle of proportionality.

“The Special Rapporteur finds it difficult to accept that the excessive use of force that disregards the distinction between civilians and combatants, the creation of a humanitarian crisis by restrictions on the mobility of goods and people, the killing and inhuman treatment of children, the widespread destruction of property and, now, territorial expansion can be justified as a proportionate response to the violence and threats of violence to which Israel is subjected,” Mr. Dugard writes.“On occasion, Israel’s action in the OPT is so remote from the interests of security that it assumes the character of punishment, humiliation and conquest,” he adds. “Some limit must be placed on the violation of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism.

A balance must be struck between respect for human rights and the interests of security.”Mr. Dugard notes that the wall separating Israel from the West Bank “has been frenetically pursued,” does not follow the de facto boundary line, and incorporates large areas of the West Bank into Israel, with over 210,000 Palestinians threatened with being effectively cut off from their farmlands, workplaces, schools and health clinics.“The evidence strongly suggests that Israel is determined to create facts on the ground amounting to de facto annexation. Annexation of this kind, known as conquest in international law, is prohibited by the Charter of the United Nations and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” he adds, calling for it to be condemned as unlawful annexation.

Mr. Dugard also says that restrictions on freedom of movement continue to create a humanitarian crisis in the OPT and that the death toll continues to rise as a result of suicide bombings and military incursions.Calling for an independent inquiry on Palestinians in Israeli jails, he writes: “Sadly, allegations of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment continue to be made.”

 Ref: UN

UN report + UN expert: Palestinian terror ‘inevitable’ result of occupationA report commissioned by the United Nations suggests that Palestinian terrorism is the inevitable consequence of Israeli occupation and laws that resemble South African apartheid – a claim Israel rejected Tuesdayas enflaming hatred between Jews and Palestinians.The report by John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the UN Human Rights Council, will be presented next month, but it has been posted on the body’s Web site.AdvertisementIn it, Dugard, a South African lawyer who campaigned against apartheid in the 1980s, says “common sense … dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al-Qaida, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation.”

“While Palestinian terrorist acts are to be deplored, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation,” writes Dugard, whose 25-page report accuses the Israel of acts and policies consistent with all three.He cited checkpoints and roadblocks restricting Palestinian movement to house demolitions and what he terms the Judaization of Jerusalem.

“As long as there is occupation, there will be terrorism,” he argues.”Acts of terror against military occupation must be seen in historical context,” Dugard says. “This is why every effort should be made to bring the occupation to a speedy end. Until this is done, peace cannot be expected, and violence will continue.

“Israel’s UN ambassador in Geneva slammed Dugard’s analysis.”The common link between Al-Qaida and the Palestinian terrorists is that both intentionally target civilians with the mere purpose to kill,” Itzhak Levanon said. “The fact that Professor Dugard is ignoring this essential fact, demonstrates his inability to use objectivity in his assessment.””Professor Dugard will better serve the cause of peace by ceasing to enflame the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians, who have embarked on serious talks to solve this contentious situation.

“Dugard was appointed in 2001 as an unpaid expert by the now-defunct UN Human Rights Commission to investigate only violations by the Israeli side, prompting Israel and the U.S. to dismiss his reports as one-sided.

Israel refused to allow him to conduct a UN-mandated fact-finding mission on its Gaza offensive in 2006.The report will be presented next month at the 47-nation rights council’sfirst regular session of the year. The new body has been widely criticized – even by its founder, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan – for spending most of its time criticizing one government, Israel’s, over alleged abuses.Ref:

Haartez

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