Ramallah (QNN) – As Israel’s far-right government remained silent yesterday about its previously stated plan to begin formal annexation of occupied Palestinian territory on July 1, tens of Palestinian civil society organizations representing the absolute majority of Palestinian civil society called for action, not just rhetoric, to stop Israel’s quiet, decades-long annexation and apartheid rule over Palestinians.
They reiterated their demand that the international community “impose lawful, targeted and immediate sanctions on Israel in response to its ongoing annexation, illegal military occupation and apartheid regime of racial discrimination, segregation and territorial expansion that is enshrined in Israel’s domestic law.”
The statement was issued by the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), which represents eleven Palestinian human rights organizations. Other initial signers of the letter include leading Palestinian trade unions, mass women’s organizations, and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), representing 69 Palestinian non-governmental organizations.
The unified Palestinian civil society statement said that Israel’s delay of its plans today was strategic: “With its silence, Israel hopes to silence global mobilizations that have compelled the international community to consider accountability measures and to safeguard its impunity.”
Their statement noted clear affirmations by a number of prominent experts of the illegality of de facto and de jure annexation of occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation.” Hundreds of international law scholars wrote that “De facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation.”
Over a thousand European parliamentarians said, “Failure to adequately respond [to Israeli annexation] would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” while tens of UN experts said that Israel’s formal annexation of occupied Palestinian territory, which happened in occupied Jerusalem in 1980 and may still take place in other parts of the OPT, crystallizes a “21st century apartheid.”
Palestinian civil society reiterated its May unified call on all States and international organizations to respect their legal obligations by immediately implementing the following measures:
1. A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel.
Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel.
2. Prohibition of trade with the illegal Israeli settlements and termination of corporate business with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.
3. Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.
4. Support efforts at the United Nations to reconstitute the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre against Apartheid to investigate Israeli apartheid.