BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights played a highly active role in the 30th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council which took place in Geneva between 14 September and 2 October 2015.In addition to extensive in-person engagement with a wide range of actors, BADIL delivered two separate oral interventions. The first, issued under Agenda Item 3 (pertaining to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation) addressed Israel’s continued denial to Palestinians of adequate access to potable drinking water and to sanitation services. Such denial constitutes a violation of Article 43, 46 and 53 of the Hague Regulations and Articles 49 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Accordingly, BADIL called upon all relevant actors to take all action possible to pressure Israeli authorities to comply with Humanitarian law, to end the discriminatory policies implemented in the allocation of water and to stop denying access to water to the population of the OPT.
The second oral intervention consisted of a joint statement the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, issued under Item 7, which highlighted the devastating nature both of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian Bedouin structures in Area C of the West Bank, and of Israel’s ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Demolitions of Palestinian structures are material acts which underpin the international crime of forcible transfer, which also constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, such unlawful practices represent only the first phase of a wider Israeli strategy of spatial domination. The second phase - which follows the removal of Palestinian presence from the land – is the mass implantation of Jewish-Israeli settlers. This second phase is also a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Inside the Gaza Strip, more than one year after the official conclusion of Israel’s devastating military assault last summer, Israel is yet to implement any measures which meaningfully ease restrictions or improve the humanitarian crisis inside this besieged enclave.
Throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinians continue to be deprived of any effective means to seek legal remedy. In the absence of a deterrence factor, Israel can maintain the prolonged occupation and its associated regime indefinitely, in total disregard of the legal and moral obligations that emanate from core international law principles and standards.
Accordingly, BADIL and Al Mezan used this joint intervention to call upon members of the Council to realize those obligations of third party states which arise from serious violations of peremptory norms, and – in light of the demonstrable failure of Israel’s domestic legal system to deliver justice to Palestinians – to lend full support to the current preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court.
In addition, on September 28th - and in collaboration with the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Society of St. Yves, and the Norwegian Refugee Council - BADIL held a side event – kindly moderated by Al Haq - which considered displacement and dispossession in the occupied Palestinian territory. BADIL extends its sincere thanks to all who participated and attended, with particular thanks to Selwa Othman who provided an extremely moving account of the issues faced by residents of the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin in the face of mass land expropriation by Israel and the subsequent growth of illegal settlements.