For the fourth year in a row, and despite the urging of several leading human rights organizations and experts, including United Nations Special Rapporteurs, the United Nations has failed again to include Israel in its annual blacklist of armed forces that commit atrocities against youth. This failure is inexcusable, given Israel’s dismal human rights record and its documented abuses against Palestinian children, including the arbitrary detention of hundreds of children every year, it’s use of torture against them and other grave violations, including the deliberate killing and maiming of roughly 2,800 Palestinian children in 2018 alone. Turning a blind eye to Israeli crimes and failing to apply such nominal standards of accountability emboldens the occupying power to escalate its flagrant violations, as documented and reported by human rights organizations.
In light of the international community’s abdication of its responsibilities vis-à-vis international law, it is no surprise that Israel continues to commit war crimes and violate international law and human rights on a daily basis with shameful impunity. Additionally, the right-wing in Israel is exploiting the current US-Israeli partnership to create new facts on the ground with absolute disregard to international law and declared rejection of the internationally-endorsed requirements of peace, including Palestinian statehood. This was clearly evident in the Israeli Cabinet’s farcical “approval” of Palestinian homes in so-called Area C in the occupied West Bank as a way to whitewash the construction of 6,000 new illegal settlement units on stolen Palestinian land. In this regard, we reaffirm that all settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal and constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute. Israeli intransigence and American collusion cannot change this legal fact or set it aside.
The international community and its bodies have a legal and moral obligation to hold Israel accountable for its relentless criminality and rogue conduct to preserve the standing and relevance of the international rules-based system, and to ensure that the Palestinian people enjoy their inalienable and absolute rights to self-determination and freedom.
Peace and prosperity in the region will remain elusive so long as racist and colonial agendas that dismiss Palestinian rights are perpetuated by international inaction on the one hand and US collusion on the other.