UN expert calls for ‘courageous’ new approach to end Israeli occupation of Palestine

A new ‘imaginative and courageous’ playbook is needed to achieve the globally agreed goal of ending the 54-year-old Israeli occupation and securing Palestinian self-determination, an expert said today of human rights in the General Assembly.

“Yesterday’s playbook … only led to repeated diplomatic discussions dead ends, while allowing patterns of human rights violations and endless occupation to continue largely unhindered, ”said Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. “It was a political failure of the First Order.”

Lynk’s annual report to the General Assembly focused on the effectiveness of four of the influential international actors involved in the Middle East process and the supervision of the Israeli occupation: the United States, the European Union, the Bank world and the Quartet (UN, EU, US and Russia).

“By failing to impose a significant cost on Israel for its endless occupation, the policies of these four actors – inadvertently or not – have contributed to the consolidation of Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory,” Lynk said.

“The occupation is more entrenched than ever. The living conditions of the Palestinians, not to mention their political future, have become even more precarious. Israel’s distrust is almost totally out of control. The peace process is moribund, even comatose, and there is no serious question of relaunching it. We are not witnessing a Palestinian state in the making, but the strengthening of a single state reality with unequal rights.

“Recent trends in the field are getting worse, not improving,” Lynk warned. “The population of Israeli settlements is approaching 700,000 settlers. The network of roads and utilities connecting the settlements to and between Israel is expanding. Settler attacks on Palestinians maintain a coercive environment. Gaza remains under a strict blockade, exacerbating its impoverishment and distress. And the amount of violence required by Israel to maintain the occupation will increase. “

Ending the longest occupation in the modern world, enabling Palestinian self-determination, and ensuring peace, security and a prosperous and shared future for Israelis and Palestinians requires the international community to adopt the following five principles to achieve the objectives of peace, security and justice:

· Due to the great asymmetry of power between Israel and the Palestinians, active international intervention is essential;

· The framework for the complete end of occupation must use a rights-based approach, anchored in international law and human rights;

· The ultimate goal must be the achievement of Palestinian self-determination;

· Israel has been an occupier in bad faith; and

· The occupation must end at a deliberate speed.

Lynk called on the international community and its main actors to apply its own rules and resolutions regarding the Israeli occupation. “We cannot continue to tolerate the intolerable: the imposition of a colonial reality on Palestine in the 21st century,” said the UN expert.

“We need a rights-based approach, but we also need imaginative and courageous diplomacy that is ready to ask honest questions about how this five-decade-old occupation has turned into a de facto
annexation, and worse.

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