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19 Dec, 2014

Geneva Conference Addresses Israeli Violations of International Law

GENEVA, December 17, 2014 (WAFA) – The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss Israel’s failure to comply with international law with regards to the Palestinian inalienable rights, according to Palestine’s Permanent Mission in Switzerland.

The meeting discussed Israel’s impunity by a High Contracting Party and disregard of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians to self-determination, as guaranteed by international law.

“Despite the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied State of Palestine, Israel as an occupying power has explicitly abdicated its obligations in this regard and has conducted numerous actions in flagrant violation of its international humanitarian law obligations,” said the mission.

The mission expressed its appreciation to the Swiss Government for its efforts in convening the High Contracting Parties conference.

This conference was convened upon the request of Palestine, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States as well as the Human Rights Council resolution HRC/res/S-21/1 adopted during the Special session on July 23, 2014 and United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/10 of December1, 2009.

The mission expressed appreciation of the “widespread participation of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Conference and the efforts made by the geographical and political groups, as well as the ICRC, UNRWA and the United Nations in allowing for a fruitful discussion.”

It said these efforts, among others, led to the success of the conference as well as the issuance of an “outcome declaration which inter alia reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied State of Palestine.”

The mission said the participating High Contracting Parties are committed to ensuring the application of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by upholding their responsibilities under articles 146, 147 and 148 of the Fourth Geneva convention to take penal sanctions against any state committing grave breaches of the Convention.

“The declaration also reminds Israel, the Occupying Power, of its obligations inter alia under articles 2, 3 and 29 of the Convention to protect the civilian population under its occupation,” the mission said.

“Without a doubt, the continued failure to ensure respect for IHL by the occupying power and hence the perpetuation of the violation of Palestinian rights, including those of a peremptory nature, undermines the credibility and viability of the international human rights movement as well as the international mechanisms in place to ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.”

The Mission considered the decision of the states that decided to boycott the conference as an “attempt to politicize international humanitarian law which sent a dangerous signal to the occupying power that it may persist with its disregard for international humanitarian law without consequence.”

“Legal actions, including through universal jurisdiction and international criminal justice mechanisms, are necessary to hold the occupying power, Israel, accountable for its decades of violations of international law and bring the Palestinian people the justice and reparation that they are entitled to,” the mission concluded.

“They will also consider further action to provide protection to the Palestinian civilian population in the Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip.”

The final declaration of the conference stressed that if any party violates International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the other party is not exempted from honoring their obligations stipulated under IHL.

The declaration called on Israel to honor the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, which includes the protection of civilian people and ensuring the provision of supplies and relief plans.

The High Contracting Parties maintained that grave violations of IHL are to be investigated, and that all those responsible for human rights violations shall be brought to justice.

The Parties said they were “concerned” over civilian casualties and the targeting of densely populated areas during the aggression on Gaza.

They also called for avoiding indiscriminate attacks of all types, including the destruction of property and multi-storey buildings and schools.

The declaration concluded with a call for a peaceful end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue.