Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

Year

2021

UN Body

Human Rights Council

Session

30

Session Type

HRC Special

Agenda Item

Country Concerned

Israel

Condemnatory

Yes

Analysis

  • The one-sided PLO drafted resolution is the product of a special session - the 9th on Israel, which has been subjected to more special sessions than any other country. It blames only Israel for the lack of a "peaceful solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, attributing this to "long-standing and systemic impunity," which has "created a protection crisis," and completely ignoring Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism.
  • Although the special session was called in response to the May 2021 Israel/Hamas conflict, which was started by Hamas when it fired rockets at Jerusalem in an unprovoked military attack, Hamas violations are never mentioned. Among other things, the resolution omits Hamas indiscriminately firing over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians, Hamas operating from within densely populated urban areas using Gaza civilians as human shields, Hamas misappropriation of international aid meant for poor Gazans to build terrorist infrastructure, Hamas murderous incitement to "buy five-shekel knives" and "kill Jews," and Hamas genocidal goal to eliminate Israel.
  • Moreover, the resolution creates a one-sided Commission of Inquiry (COI) with an unprecedented never-ending mandate to report annually both to the UNHRC and the UNGA on all violations at any time in the past or the future. No other COI has ever been given such a broad, timeless mandate.
  • Unlike previous COIs, this COI is mandated not just to investigate alleged violations in the "Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," but also "in Israel." On the heels of accusations by pro-Palestinian NGOs like B'Tselem and Human Rights Watch that Israel commits apartheid from "the river to the sea," this COI is also tasked with investigating alleged "systemic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity." This is clearly intended to support the NGO delegitimization campaign which baselessly claims that Israel - the only democracy in the Middle East - commits apartheid. One of the goals of the COI is to collect evidence that can be "admissible in legal proceedings," to support international criminal prosecutions against Israeli officials, such as the ongoing ICC probe. It is clear that this is solely directed at Israel, as the COI's mandate includes to "identify patterns of violations" based on previous COIs. All previous COIs have been one-sided and biased against Israel, accusing Israel of war crimes, denying Israel the right to self-defense, and giving a free pass to the Palestinians.
  • Finally, Hamas welcomed the resolution, indicating it did not view itself as being the target.

Main Sponsors

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Vote

Yes - 24, No - 9, Abstain - 14

Key Praise

None

Key Criticism

  • "Firmly convinced that justice and respect for the rule of law and human rights are the indispensable bases for peace, and stressing that long-standing and systemic impunity for international law violations has thwarted justice, created a protection crisis and undermined all efforts to achieve a just and peaceful solution..."
  • "Decides to urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry...to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity."
  • "Also decides that the commission of inquiry shall:...(e) Identify patterns of violations over time by analysing the similarities in findings and recommendations with and of previous United Nations fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry on the situation...(h) Report on its main activities on an annual basis..."
  • "Urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess...that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used to commit or facilitate serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law."
  • "Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to ensure the unimpeded delivery of...humanitarian assistance."

Full Vote

  • Yes24

    • Argentina
    • Armenia
    • Bahrain
    • Bangladesh
    • Bolivia
    • Burkina Faso
    • China
    • Ivory Coast
    • Cuba
    • Eritrea
    • Gabon
    • Indonesia
    • Libya
    • Mauritania
    • Mexico
    • Namibia
    • Pakistan
    • Philippines
    • Russia
    • Senegal
    • Somalia
    • Sudan
    • Uzbekistan
    • Venezuela
  • No9

    • Austria
    • Bulgaria
    • Cameroon
    • Czech Republic
    • Germany
    • Malawi
    • Marshall Islands
    • United Kingdom
    • Uruguay
  • Abstain14

    • Bahamas
    • Brazil
    • Denmark
    • Fiji
    • France
    • India
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Nepal
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • South Korea
    • Togo
    • Ukraine