UN Human Rights Council’s 37th Session: St. Yves Raises Serious Concern Over Latest Laws and Bills in Israel’s Parliament Aimed at the Forcible Transfer of Palestinians

  • Date: 2018-03-26

The Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights participated in the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that took place this March in Geneva, between February 26-  March 23, 2018 .

St. Yves’ took part in advocacy activities along with other partner Palestinian organizations (Community Action Center, Badil, Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic, Al-Haq and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem), including participating in side events, meetings with state representatives and joint statements delivered under item (7): situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

 On March 19th, St. Yves addressed the Council in a joint oral intervention with Al-Haq, Badil and the Community Action Center under the Interactive Debate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.

On March 20th, St. Yves participated in a side event entitled “Ongoing Annexation and Colonization of Jerusalem”, addressing the very alarming legislative trends at Israel’s parliament, meant to fast-track physical, legal and judiciary annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory after the US President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, contrary to Jerusalem’s status under international law. St. Yves particularly raised the alarm over the recently passed law which expands the arbitrary discretions given to the Israeli Minister of Interior, allowing him to punitively revoke the permanent residency status of Palestinian Jerusalemites for “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel, in clear violation of international law. In further fragmenting the status of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the Law is expected to expedite their forcible transfer from their city. Moreover, St. Yves warned against another newly-passed law, granting Israeli police the power to withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed by the Israeli forces. The Law imposes conditions on families of the deceased as regards to the burial of the bodies, limiting the size of the funeral, location, timing, and attendees. Such long-standing illicit practice, which has been now cemented in law, violates a set of rules under International Humanitarian Law and mount to collective punishment.

In addition, St. Yves addressed in its intervention an alarming bill presented by the Israel’s Justice Minister which aims at transferring the exclusive jurisdiction over four matters from the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, to the Israeli Administrative Affairs Court in Jerusalem (Requests submitted in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law, planning and construction, freedom of movement, and restraining and supervision orders). The bill treats the occupied Palestinian Territory as part of Israel, and does not recognize that the West Bank has a special status as an occupied territory. As such, the proposed amendment  seeks to impose Israeli norms on Palestinian residents in the West Bank and refuses to accept any argument under international law, entrenching a state of full annexation, including judiciary.

The UN Human Right Council concluded its 37th session by adopting four resolutions on Palestine with majority votes: Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, are illegal, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the OPT, including East Jerusalem.