One day after the killing of two Israeli undercover soldiers (falsely presented as soldiers off-duty by Israeli spokespersons) in Ramallah and the consequent Israeli bombing of Palestinian institutions in Ramallah, Gaza, and Jericho, BADIL Resource Center met with Georgio Giacomelli, Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights, to brief him and his team on the current crisis in Palestine.
The Special Rapporteur, on an extra-ordinary fact finding mission between 11 -15 October, has been meeting with Palestinian officials and NGOs on the one hand, and Israeli NGOs on the other (Israeli officials continue to uphold their traditional boycott of the Commission's Special Rapporteur), and is due to report his findings to the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Commission to be opened in Geneva on 18 October 2000.
In today's meeting, BADIL affirmed that:
- Palestinian protests, triggered by brutal Israeli killing of Palestinian worshippers at the Haram al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa) compound in Jerusalem on 29 September, were an expression of POPULAR Palestinian protest against the persistent Israeli violation of UN resolutions and international humanitarian and human rights law throughout the Oslo "peace" process, and NOT a political move orchestrated and controlled by the Palestinian leadership;
- the escalation of violence and the heavy toll of Palestinian victims - over 100 killed and 3,000 injured - are the direct result of the excessive use of military force applied by the powerful Israeli occupation composed of Israeli army, police forces, special (undercover) units and settlers;
- the current events in the Middle East have not only aggravated the crisis in Palestinian/Arab - Israeli relations, but - in the absence of effective international intervention - also deeply shaken Palestinian/Arab confidence in the international system represented by the United Nations.
BADIL demanded from the Special Rapporteur to use the opportunity provided by the Special Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights on 18 October in order to rebuild Palestinian confidence in the universality and relevance of international human rights and humanitarian law. BADIL called upon the Special Rapporteur to recommend that the final statement issued by the Special Session include:
1. A clear condemnation of the excessive use of force and human rights violations by Israel;
2. A decision to launch an international investigation process similar to the mechanism applied to the case of East Timor, i.e. a process which includes:
a) a call upon UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to appoint, via the Security Council, an INDEPENDEN, INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY mandated to establish responsibility both for the eruption of the current crisis and the reparation of damages caused;
b) a decision to launch a JOINT MISSION of the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Commission on Human Rights mandated to thoroughly investigate human rights violations in the 1967 occupied territories and in Israel and to recommend new international mechanisms for the protection of the Palestinian people, especially its most vulnerable sectors (e.g. residents of Israeli occupied Jerusalem; refugees and internally displaced; bedouin and villagers residing in areas under Israeli military control). Such protective mechanisms must include international guarantees which ensure that any future political agreement signed between Israel and the PLO will meet the standards set by international humanitarian and human rights law.
BADIL calls upon international human rights organizations, NGOs and the solidarity movement to convey our concern and demands to the UN Commission on Human Rights. Please write to:
Mrs. Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, fax: 0041-22-917 9018