For the 53rd regular session of the UNHRC (19 June – 14 July 2023), BADIL submitted a written and oral statement, and held a side event under Item 7, the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) highlighting that Israel’s deprivation of liberty is not limited to policies and practices of incarceration and to the geographic location of the OPT.
In the written statement, BADIL focused on Israel’s denial of the right of return that strategically deprives Palestinians of their right to self-determination, as both rights are intrinsically dependent and inseparable, and without one, the other cannot be fulfilled. The Israeli policies and practices that deny the Palestinian people’s rights to return and self-determination constitute international crimes and form the Israeli regime’s three main pillars: Palestinian displacement and transfer, colonization, and apartheid. These pillars, which are translated into Israeli laws, policies, and practices, aim to control the maximum amount of land with the minimum number of Palestinians.
For more than 75 years, the Israeli-perpetrated Ongoing Nakba has resulted in the protracted forced displacement of 66 percent of the Palestinian people. As a result, 9.17 million Palestinians have experienced forced displacement and/or transfer, constituting the largest and most protracted displaced population in the world. In the context of the ongoing forced population transfer of the Palestinian people, denial of return is essential to the overall policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime.
Correspondingly, the perpetuation of the Ongoing Nakba – made feasible by the lack of practical measures to hold Israel accountable for its international crimes – reflects the extent of international complicity with the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime in Palestine.
The Palestinian people have systematically been deprived of their liberties and denied their enjoyment of their inalienable right to return. It is imperative to recognize and address the root causes of 75 years of ongoing forcible displacement and continued denial of reparations of the Palestinian people by Israel. The international community bears the duty to decolonize Israel’s colonial-apartheid system, and end its impunity, facilitating the Palestinian people’s right of return as well as their right to self-determination.
The side event, featured testimony from Mrs. Sana Salameh, the wife of Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqah. Sana highlighted the situation of Walid, who holds an Israeli citizenship, and despite having completed his sentence, continues to be arbitrarily detained. Walid suffers from myelofibrosis (a rare form of bone cancer) and qualifies for early release. However, not only has Israel failed to provide Walid with timely and adequate health care in prison, it has also repeatedly denied him early release.
In the oral statement, Mrs. Sana Salameh called on the UN to take urgent measures to pressure Israel to release her husband, Walid Daqqah