The US-led conference held last month in Bahrain, designed to increase investment in the Palestinian economy and pave a path to peace with Israel came under criticism, was attended by no official delegation from either of the two parties. The terms of the US peace plan, which was made without consulting the Palestinians, have not yet been made public.
Last week, the Palestinian village of Wadi al-Hummus, south of East Jerusalem, saw the largest eviction in the city since 1967.
About 1,000 soldiers and police officers took part in the campaign broadcast live on television, detonating explosives planted in an eight-storey building near the Israeli separation wall, which was seen as a “security” risk. See the Jerusalem video witness here.
A Wimbledon reader draws attention to James Reinl’s article about a Canadian law professor, Michael Lynk, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory – a ‘controversial’ appointment. He has been meeting Israeli and Palestinian officials and activists in Jordanian capital Amman to carry out research for a report he will submit to the UN’s Geneva-based Human Rights Council in October.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday where he shared his conclusions, YNet news, an Israeli outlet, reports that Lynk said the international community had “recoiled from answering Israel’s splintering of the Palestinian territory and disfiguring of the laws of occupation with the robust tools that international law and diplomacy provide.”
As the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is continuing, he is drafting a series of steps the international community could take to deter Israel from building more settlements in the occupied West Bank and from making any efforts to formally annex the Palestinian territory
To this end, he advocates the cutting of economic, political and cultural ties with Israel
“The international community actually holds a lot of cards with Israel, and it has to say to Israel: ‘Your membership or privileges through bilateral or multilateral agreements with respect to your economy, political and cultural relationships are all going to be called into question and reviewed unless you show genuine attempts to unwind and undo the occupation’.”
Lynk’s recommendations are not legally-binding but Palestinian activists could well see them as a useful alternative to a formal peace process that has largely ground to a halt.
He has emphasised the role of the EU, which accounts for some 40% of Israel’s external trade and could make the flow of Israeli goods and services to the 28-nation bloc contingent on policy shifts that help Palestinians.
Citing two UN-backed mechanisms designed to hold Israel accountable for human rights violations that appear to have ground to a halt under pressure from the US and Israel, he called for:
- the speedy publication of a long-awaited blacklist of Israeli and international companies that profit from operations in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which has been drawn up by the UN’s human rights apparatus in Geneva
- and urged prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to hasten its preliminary investigation of allegations of rights abuses by Israel and Hamas on Palestinian territory, which began in 2015.
Photograph taken in 2015
Today it is reported that Israeli settlers destroyed 80 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the village of Yasouf, east of the West Bank city of Salfit. Yasouf mayor, Khaled Abbieh, said that the land where the trees were cut down is located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Rahalim, and is owned by two brothers who are residents of that settlement. The act came as Palestinian farmers prepare for the olive harvest season, which is done in the autumn. Thousands of families live by harvesting olives.
Will the international community courageously take all possible steps to deter Israel from building in the occupied West Bank and to encourage both sides to plan for a peaceful, prosperous future?