Habitat International Coalition (HIC) – Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has partnered with HIC Member organizations Al-Haq and BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Palestine), as well as with Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) in submitting a joint report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) addressing the Committee’s list of themes on Israel’s seventeenth to nineteenth periodic reports. The report, submitted on 5 September 2019, contributes to the Committee`s review of Israel`s performance as state party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). It follows two previous parallel reports prepared by HIC-HLRN focusing on the institutionalized material discrimination by Israeli law and institutions, as seen through the lens of the human right to adequate housing.
Coming ahead of Israel’s 2020 periodic review under ICERD, the submission focuses on Israel’s longstanding and systematic violations of the human rights of the indigenous Palestinian people in all territory subject to its jurisdiction, including inside Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip (the occupied territories). With the specialized contribution of BADIL, the report also addresses the consequences of institutionalized discrimination affecting the human rights of Palestinian refugees and exiles living outside of territory under Israel’s control, but whose rights to reparation, including return to their homes and property, Israel continues to deny since 1948.
The report also highlights Israel’s breaches of Article 3 of the ICERD, requiring States Parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction. In previous periodic reviews, the Committee has repeatedly found Israel failing to implement this essential state obligation, but rather enabling the practice through its entrenched policies and practices of racial discrimination, racial segregation and apartheid against the Palestinian people.
Specific violations surrounding Israel’s discriminatory spatial planning, construction and zoning policies impact rights to adequate housing, property and access to land and natural resources for Palestinians both categorized as citizens of Israel inside the Green Line and those in the occupied territories. The joint civil society submission stresses, in particular, the impact of such policies on the Palestinian Bedouin in the southern Naqab, Palestinian permanent residents of Jerusalem and Palestinians in the West Bank, who continue to be subjected to Israel’s policy of demographic manipulation (domestically) and population transfer (across its legal border). Despite repeated recommendations by the Committee Israel has neither ceased nor effectively remedied these ongoing gross violations.
The joint submission further calls attention to Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip, which has persisted for more than twelve years and made the territory uninhabitable according to recent UN reports, in violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying Power under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The closure, amounting to collective punishment, has resulted in the denial of Palestinians’ rights to freedom of movement, adequate housing, life, health, human dignity, and an adequate standard of living in violation of Article 5 of the ICERD.
To read the full joint submission to the CERD, click here.