ESCR-Net stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people
Over the last few months, Israeli courts have upheld unjust “eviction” orders contrary to international law to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, in order to transfer Israeli settlers therein. In response, Palestinian families, with the support of local communities and Palestinian civil society, have resisted these orders and called for solidarity. This drew renewed international attention to an ongoing dispossession that Palestinians have been facing for years as part of an Israel’s settler-colonial endeavor to annex Palestinian territory. In 2014, the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine described similar attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians from East Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing,”
ESCR-Net stands in solidarity with our members in Palestine, some of whom have been directly impacted, and with the Palestinian people against the continuous oppression and ongoing dispossession that they have been facing for years as part of an Israeli system of apartheid, denounced by both ESCR-Net members and allies. According to a joint submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestine by the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) - including ESCR-Net members Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Habitat International Coalition, Israel continues to establish, maintain, and expand its settler-colonial enterprise, which involves the domination and de facto annexation of large parts of the West Bank, entrenching its regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, on both sides of the Green Line, and Palestinian refugees and exiles abroad. The UN Security Council has previously condemned the establishment of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in Eastern Jerusalem, asserting that they have no legal validity and are flagrant violations of international law.
While Palestinian families face forcible transfer from their homes, Israeli forces in the Old City of Jerusalem have also further restricted the Palestinian right to movement and the right to freedom of religion throughout the holy month of Ramadan - preventing many from praying in the Al-Aqsa compound. Within this context, Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinians across Jerusalem, including in the Al-Aqsa mosque, firing rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at worshipers, resulting in hundreds being injured, many of whom were denied access to medical help. In a public statement, UN experts have condemned the brutal repression of Palestinian protesters by Israeli security forces and called for the lifting of the threats of eviction facing Palestinian families.
Across cities, such as Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, Nazareth, Al-Lud and many others, groups of Israeli settlers have been publicly attacking Palestinian families and individuals with the protection of Israeli forces.
On 11 May 2021, Israel also launched a punitive military offensive against the two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. According to ESCR-Net member, Al-Mezan, as of 16 May 2021, Israel’s offensive has resulted in the death of 181 Palestinians, including 53 children and 31 women; 849 others have been injured in the attacks, including 162 children and 137 women. Targeted attacks on civilian residence buildings and press offices of international news media, both of which could be in violation of international law, have been documented. We reiterate that attacks on civilians must immediately stop and we demand an end to 14 years of Israeli-imposed blockade and closure on the Gaza Strip which constitutes collective punishment.
The Palestinian families facing dispossession and their allies have taken to social media to garner international solidarity as well as document evictions and attacks on protesters. However, social media companies, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, have systematically silenced users by removing posts and accounts denouncing the ongoing violations.
On 18 May 2021, Palestinians will mark an international day of action and general strike across historic Palestine - this is the first such strike since the Palestinian uprising against British colonial rule in 1936.
Against this backdrop, and as Palestinians recently commemorated the Nakba of 1948 on 15 May, ECSR-Net calls on all relevant authorities to urgently address the root causes of the deteriorating human rights situation in Palestine and to call upon Israel to stop its attacks against the Palestinian people immediately. In particular, we call for:
- A Special Session at the Human Rights Council to address Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people within the Israeli-imposed reality of apartheid and persecution in Palestine;
- The ICC Prosecutor to investigate the the ongoing forcible transfer and displacement of Palestinians, including those in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, in the ongoing proceedings at the ICC;
- The international community to take immediate and concrete measures to halt Israel’s attacks against Palestinians and to hold Israel accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity; and
- Israel to end its aggression against the Palestinian people, regardless of their geographic location, in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the Diaspora.
Several ESCR-Net members have made public statements below:
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights: https://twitter.com/AlMezanCenter/status/1392569543235719176
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies:
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel: https://twitter.com/AdalahCenter/status/1391081198366208004
Arab NGO Network for Development: https://twitter.com/ArabNGONetwork/status/1392397535101259780
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights: https://eipr.org/en/press/2021/05/egyptian-rights-groups-demand-end-israeli-attacks-and-apartheid
Abahlali baseMjondolo: https://abahlali.org/node/17272/
International Commission of Jurists: https://twitter.com/ICJ_MENA/status/1392126429635268618
Center for Constitutional Rights: https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/us-complicit-israel-s-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity
International Federation for Human Rights: https://twitter.com/fidh_en/status/1392496421325189125
We will continue to share member statements through our Twitter: @ESCRNet
ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights connects over 280 NGOs, social movements and advocates across more than 75 countries to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all.