The International Court of Justice at The Hague should issue an advisory opinion
on Israeli acts of “colonialism,” “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” in the West
Bank, UN special investigator Richard Falk has said.
He made the call in
a report which he intends to deliver to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in
March, and which he posted Monday on his blog.
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In the report, Falk
stressed that strong language – such as the above terms – was needed to
understand Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights, and as a result he intended to
make use of them in the report.
“Such labels can be perceived as emotive,
and admittedly require a finding by a court of law to be legally conclusive,”
“However, such language, in the special rapporteur’s view,
more accurately describes the realities of the occupation as of the end of 2010
than the more neutralseeming description of factual developments that disguises
the structures of this occupation which has undermined the rights under
international law of the Palestinian people for 43 years.”
renewed the call made by his predecessor, John Dugard, for the UN General
Assembly to seek an advisory opinion on the matter from the ICJ.
be illustrated in the present report, the dual discriminatory structure of
settler administration, security, mobility and law as compared to the
Palestinian subjugation seems to qualify the long Israeli occupation of the West
Bank as an instance of apartheid,” Falk said.
In the report he supported
the Palestinian position that no negotiations should be held until Israel halted
all settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
argued that settlement construction has continued throughout all past
negotiations, and there is no reason to set a new pre-condition at this
But Falk, in his report, wrote that resuming negotiations without
a settlement freeze would set a precedent by which a pattern of repeated
violation of rights would be treated as a new platform of legality.
he questioned whether a negotiated settlement was possible, he also cast doubt
on the viability of the Palestinian drive to seek unilateral
Palestinian plans to seek unilateral recognition of their
state were consistent with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s
work toward preparing his people for statehood by this summer, he
Falk cautioned, however, that a “Palestinian state could be viewed
as falling far short of realizing the minimum content of an acceptable enactment
of selfdetermination, lacking in resolution of outstanding core issues such as
refugees, Jerusalem, borders, water and settlements.”
In the report, he
spoke against Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza and raid of the Gaza-bound
flotilla in May – in which nine activists were killed – calling Israeli actions
in both instances unlawful and unjustified.
He condemned Israel for the
deaths of 1,335 Palestinian children killed since 2000 as a result of Israeli
military and settler presence in the West Bank.
However, he did not
distinguish in his report between those who participated, and did not
participate, in violence against Israel.
He was also upset by the
continued arrest and detention of Palestinian children, who in some cases, were
subjected to physical and psychological abuse.
“At the end of October
2010, 256 children remained in Israeli detention, including 34 between the ages
of 12–15 years,” Falk said. “As of August 2010, 42.5 percent of Palestinian
children in Israeli prisons were not held in facilities separate from
Each year, approximately 700 Palestinian children [under 18] from
the West Bank are prosecuted in Israeli military courts after being arrested,
interrogated and detained by the Israeli army.”
Since 2008, Falk has been
the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian
A professor emeritus in international law at Princeton
University, Falk is an outspoken critic of Israeli actions in the West Bank and
Gaza. In the past he has compared some Israeli policies toward the Palestinians
with the actions of Nazis toward the Jews.
Last month, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon publicly slammed statements by Falk, who in a
recent blog posting questioned whether the 9/11 terror attacks were orchestrated
by the US government.