Setting the Record Straight on PA and Hamas Aggression and Defending Israel at the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council
We have just taken major action in defense of Israel’s interests through our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) once again before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), a body known for its anti-Israel bias.
This time not only did we defend Israel, but we also brought to the attention of the HRC the many human rights violations committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) against the very people they supposedly represent.
While various U.N. bodies wrongly condemn Israel—the only democratic State in the Middle East—for actions necessary for its national security and lawful under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), they turn a blind eye to what Hamas and the PA do to their own people.
The so-called “occupied Palestinian territories” have been on the U.N.’s agenda since 1993 and on the HRC’s permanent agenda as Item 7. Instead of impartially looking at the situation and condemning the real violators of human rights, the HRC continually targets Israel.
Our critical submission to the HRC notes it is the PA and Hamas that “bear overall responsibility for the human rights violations that occur where they rule as well as the economic hardships their fellow Palestinians suffer.” It is not Israel. In fact, Israel would gladly leave the Palestinians in peace if only the Palestinians would leave Israel alone.
For example, the submission notes that many States and organizations generously provide funds and goods to the PA and Hamas to improve everyday Palestinians’ lives. Much of the aid, however, is not used for its intended purpose. Among other uses, “[t]he PA pays approximately 300 million dollars annually to support jailed terrorists’ families.” This is the “Pay for Slay” program that the ACLJ has filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration over.
Hamas, on the other hand, “diverts funds and supplies meant to improve Gazans’ lives to build weapons storage locations, rocket factories, and tunnels to enter Israel. All of these are intentionally placed in or adjacent to otherwise protected structures like schools, hospitals, mosques, and homes.” Our submission notes that such actions not only constitute war crimes but also “violate the Gazans’ most basic human right, the right to life itself.”
In addition to such serious violations, both Hamas and the PA “routinely threaten, beat, torture, and arrest critics. In 2018, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported ‘patterns of arrest and detention conditions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.’” These actions have gotten so bad that even HRW, itself a frequent critic of Israel, “recommended that foreign nations suspend funding until the [PA and Hamas] curb those practices and hold those responsible for abuse accountable.”
We informed the U.N. HRC that Hamas viciously beats demonstrators and arbitrarily arrests and tortures human rights defenders and political opponents. “In 2020, there were 61 documented incidents of arrest and abuse and 51 instances of torture.”
These human rights violations are not only limited to Hamas. The PA also regularly detains fellow Palestinians who are critical of its actions or show support for other political groups. “In 2020, there were at least 21 incidents of the PA ‘violat[ing] freedom of expression and freedom of the press,’ 158 cases of the PA arresting opponents and critics, and 95 reported complaints of torture.”
While Israel is falsely accused of apartheid, no one pays attention to the PA and Hamas’s apartheid-like actions. For instance, the PA has legislation that prescribes life imprisonment for sale of land to Jews. Before 2014, the offenders could face the death penalty.
“Both Hamas and the PA vigorously teach antisemitism in their education system. The PA teaches children to anticipate the end of Israel and subsequent reunification of Palestine as one nation.”
“In 2016, Palestinian textbooks invalidated the two-state solution, removed Israel from maps, placed Israeli cities within Palestine, and glorified martyrdom.”
We have urged the U.N. HRC to take an impartial look at the situation and condemn Hamas and the PA for their many violations of international human rights law and the LOAC.
In addition to our submission to the HRC, we also just sent a vital letter to the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia, who is the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) President for the month of June.
As we have explained in the past, we send a letter each month to the incoming UNSC President addressing the ongoing attempts of the so-called “State of Palestine” to convince the UNSC to compel Israel to accept Palestinian statehood on the PA’s terms. Each UNSC President needs to know that, while Israel has made numerous reasonable (and many would even say generous) offers to Palestinian leaders for peace and a two–state solution, Palestinian leaders continue to thwart Israel’s good–faith efforts, as is clearly evident in our HRC submission as well.
We also explain that “the UN does not officially recognise states or declare statehood; such actions are the responsibility of individual governments.” This is significant for many reasons, not the least of which is “the PA’s attempts to reconcile with Hamas, an internationally-declared terrorist organisation that refuses to even recognise the right of UN Member State Israel to exist.”
As we concluded in our recent letter to the UNSC President, the Permanent Representative of Estonia:
[T]he Palestinians’ attempt to renege on their international obligations and collapse the Peace Process with Israel must continue to be rejected by the international community. The UN Security Council should not entertain a subsequent Palestinian request for admission until the Palestinians have resolved the outstanding issues between them and the Israelis via direct negotiations without preconditions.