Open Letter from TİHEK to Human Rights Institutions (ENG)

16.05.2021

OPEN LETTER

TO HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTIONS AND TO THE WORLD’S RIGHTMINDED PEOPLE ON ISRAEL’S ATTACKS AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS

 

The United Nations Organization (UN), which was established after the First and Second World Wars, which caused great destruction and suffers to all humanity, was mainly founded to protect international peace and security. Developing and consolidating respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, which is one of the basic elements of keeping international peace, has been accepted as one of the goals of the UN. In this context, it has been declared that the peoples of the United Nations have adopted ‘the belief in protecting future generations from the disaster of war, in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and value of human personality, in the equality of rights of men and women, and of big and small nations. It has been accepted and declared by all the states, which acknowledged the UN Charter, that they will act in accordance with the principles of “the sovereign equality of states”, “the respect for the territorial integrity or political independence of states”, and “refraining from using force or threats to use force incompatible with the purposes of the United Nations”.

However, the veto power given to each of the five permanent member states in the UN Security Council, which is the basis of the system established to protect and keep international peace and fundamental human values, contradicts the purposes of ensuring peace and justice and the principle of “the sovereign equality of states”. The fact that the determination of permanent members is not based on an election, that each of them can prevent decisions for keeping peace on their own, and that there is no state representing the Islamic World among them are clear evidence that the system in question is also against the principles of neutrality, pluralism, and democracy. In fact, this structure founded to ensure peace and human rights in the world has become the biggest obstacle to keeping peace and development of respect for human rights.

The UN system with these qualities has failed to prevent the severe and systematic violations of international law committed by Israel, which sees it as a method of violating fundamental human rights since its establishment, and it has been an example of failure to protect the Palestinian people’s right to exist and other fundamental rights. This system empowers Israel’s unlawful practices, eliminates respect for the order of human rights, and endangers the world’s peace and the future of the UN. Taking courage from this unfair system, Israel has become one of the biggest obstacles to establishing world peace, strengthening respect for human rights, and the giving hope for UN system.

Israel’s attacks on the Palestinian people and country are implemented as a part of the goal of expanding the occupation and the regime of apartheid rather than individual attacks. Palestinian neighborhoods are evacuated and their territories are annexed for unlawful reasons, their private properties are plundered for building illegal Jewish settlements, their right to life is violated, they are subjected to all kinds of torture and ill-treatment, their freedom of travel is restricted, their freedom of worship is limited, their holy shrines, which are regarded as sacred by the whole Muslims of the world, are stormed, and the worshippers are cruelly attacked with tear gas and stun grenades. Provocative attacks are carried out by the Israeli police, and the weak reactions of the Palestinian people within the scope of self-defense are used as an excuse for prolonging the occupation and committing genocide.

During the month(s) of Ramadan, which is considered sacred by the whole Islamic world, almost every year Israel carries out attacks in Palestine, Jerusalem, and Masjid al-Aqsa, the holy place of worship; these attacks have been repeated also this year and turned into  occupation and annexation. The attempt of Jewish settlers to sieze the Sheikh Cerrah Quarter in East Jerusalem from the Palestinians has turned into a brutal attack and an armed conflict directed against all the Palestinians, regardless of women, children, elderly, and disabled people. The attacks having signs of war crimes have reached a level that will hurt the conscience of all humanity, especially the Islamic World.

Upon Israel’s invasion of East Jerusalem and declaring Jerusalem its capital, the UN Security Council, with its resolution 478 on 20 August 1980, condemned Israel’s “Jerusalem Law” of July 30, 1980, which declared Jerusalem as the “full and united” capital, and regarded it as a violation of international law; stating that the Council did not recognize this law, it called on member states to act in accordance with the decision of the Council and to move their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The draft resolution, which was presented against the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017 and discussed at the UN Security Council on December 18, 2017 received the support of 14 of the 15 member countries but blocked with the US veto. This veto is another example of how a single country can override the will of the nations of the world by using its veto power. Because the draft was submitted to the UN General Assembly by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League and received the support of 128 countries against 9 in the voting held on December 21, 2017, and thus making Jerusalem the capital of Israel has been considered illegal and invalid once again.

The UN Security Council convened for the second time to discuss the escalating tension that started with the forced evacuation of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Cerrah Quarter in the East Jerusalem; it was briefed by Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, on the escalating tension and the recent developments in the East Jerusalem, warning that Israel and Palestine are ‘drifting towards a full-scale war’. The UN Security Council wanted to make a joint statement, deeply concerned about the tension in East Jerusalem and the air strikes in Gaza and calling for an immediate end to the conflict, but the Council’s statement was (again and as always) blocked by the United States.

Israel’s policy of resettling Israeli civilians in the occupied Palestinian land and of displacing the Palestinians violates the basic rules of international humanitarian law. In this way, Israel has seized 90 percent of the Palestinian land since 1948 and established Jewish towns there. The Geneva Convention prohibits ‘the Occupying Force from moving its civilian population to the territories that it occupies’ and ‘forcibly or massively moving from the occupied territories and expelling the protected civilians from occupied territories’. This constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The International Criminal Court, which is authorized to prosecute war crimes, crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression, has recently decided that it has the authority to investigate the activities that Israel carries out in Palestine, and that its authority includes Gaza, West Bank, and East Jerusalem. The fact that Israel’s actions will be investigated in the context of the aforementioned crime definitions raises the expectation of ensuring justice by making necessary trials.

Israel’s attacks on the oppressed Palestinian people are grave and systematic violations of human rights as a whole. A peaceful future will not be established until Israel agrees to treat Palestinians according to human rights standards, including the abolition of apartheid and respect for their right to self-determination. It is essential and necessary that all human rights institutions and the world’s conscientious and prudent defenders of human rights deny and condemn the grave and systematic violations of Palestinian fundamental rights and the war crimes committed, and take action to stop the attacks. It is expected that institutions, especially the United Nations, which have the authority to take binding and deterrent decisions, will identify and declare the violations and follow their results.

We remind you that keeping silent to oppression and injustice is not different from cruelty in terms of its nature, and we declare that we are in unity, solidarity, and brothership with the oppressed and aggrieved Palestinian people.

 

Süleyman ARSLAN

President of Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey


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