Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid must be dismantled, says UN special rapporteur : Peoples Dispatch

The United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, in a report published on Tuesday October 18, said that it is essential to “dismantle the Israeli colonial occupation and its practices apartheid” to realize the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Albanese said Israeli actions against Palestinians in the occupied territories amounted to “persecution” and “collective punishment” with a clear attempt to erase Palestinian identity. She claimed Israel’s apartheid regime had grown emboldened over the past 55 years due to “the international community’s acquiescence and failure to hold Israel accountable” for its actions.

The report notes that the greatest human rights suffering is that of nearly 40 percent of Palestinian refugees or their descendants, who were forced to flee their homes when Israel was established in 1948. decades after 1967, they are still forced to endure daily occupation “with no prospect of returning to their ancestral homes”.

The dated report September 21, 2022 was made public on Tuesday. Albanese notes that the Israeli state denied her a visit to the occupied territories and that the Israeli representative to the UN also refused to meet her during the preparation of the report. She stressed that Israel’s non-cooperation with the UN on human rights issues is “a grave concern”.

The report states that “since 1967, the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has steadily deteriorated, mainly due to gross violations of international law, including racial segregation and subjugation by the powerful occupier, Israel. It notes that several Israeli actions constitute flagrant violations of international human rights law.

Albanese is a well-known Italian expert on international law. She took up her post as UN special rapporteur in May this year, succeeding Michael Lynk, who also described Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as apartheid.

Attempts to erase Palestinian identity

Albanese’s report highlights Israeli attempts to eradicate Palestinian collective identity by persecuting all attempts to resist its oppressive policies. She cites the attack on the funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 13 this year as one example of such attempts. She also lists the growing number of administrative detention cases under which large numbers of Palestinian activists have been held in Israeli jails without charge or trial for years.

The closure of the offices of seven Palestinian human rights groups earlier this year, the administrative detention of activist Salah Hammouri and the arrests of scores of Palestinian children are some of the examples cited in the report showing the Israel’s attempts to terrorize the Palestinians.

The report mentions that between 500 and 700 minors are arrested by Israel almost every year. Currently, more than 4,500 Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons.

The UN special rapporteur also criticized the decision of some countries in the Arab region to normalize relations with Israel, noting that all attempts to negotiate peace with Israel will be “ineffective” until the focus is on Palestinian human rights and their right to self-determination.

The report recommends that “the government of Israel abide by its obligations under international law and cease impeding the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, ending its colonial occupation of the Palestinian territory immediately and unconditionally and carrying out reparations for his wrongful acts”.

The report calls on the world community to pressure Israel to immediately end the illegal occupation of all Palestinian lands and the displacement of Palestinians, independently of any negotiations, in order to achieve a final settlement of the conflict.

Michael A. Bynum