UN official: Palestinians must have security and civil control of Area C

The report blamed the Palestinian violence in part on a lack of hope among Palestinian minors and questioned whether in some cases the attacks occurred at all.

A CONSTRUCTION site in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, near Jerusalem [File] (photo credit: REUTERS)
A CONSTRUCTION site in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, near Jerusalem [File]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority must have civil and security control of Area C, a United Nations Human Rights Council investigator said as he blamed Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and east Jerusalem on the settlement enterprise.
“Without Israel’s settlement project, there would no rationale for the continuing occupation,” said Michael Lynk, who is the UNHRC’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.
Israel has “obstructed the Palestinian right to self-determination” by building over the pre-1967 lines in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, said Lynk.
He wrote the statement in a 26-page report on Israeli actions against Palestinians which he submitted last week to the UN. On Thursday he presented the report to a New York meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee and on Friday he will hold a press conference in New York. It’s Lynk’s first report since taking office earlier this year.
Lynk, a Canadian international law expert, called on Israel in his report to withdraw from Area C of the West Bank, where it has full civil and military control and to hand that area over to the Palestinians. All Israeli settlements are in Area C of the West Bank.
“Allow the Palestinian Authority to assume security control in Area B and civil and security control in Area C so as to end the geographic fragmentation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” he said.
In issuing that call, he added his voice to those in the international community who have insisted that Israel must withdraw fully from Area C. Israel believes the final borders of a two-state solution, including Area C, must be set in a negotiating process with the Palestinians.
Lynk, however, said that Israel acted as a “colonial” power in Area C and east Jerusalem.
Israel, he said, has entrenched “a colonial like regime in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with two separate and unequal systems as regards laws, roads, justice regime, access to water, social services, freedom of mobility, political and civil rights, security and living standards.”
“Israel’s discriminatory planning regime, particularly in East Jerusalem and Area C, minimizes or excludes Palestinian participation,” Lynk said.
Israel should “end the practice of forcible transfer and the destruction of homes and property, including those of Palestinian Bedouin communities.” Lynk wrote.
Demolition of Palestinian homes and the lack of permits to build, create a “coercive environment” that “exacerbates the risk of individual and mass forced transfer,” Link said adding that forced transfer is a war crime.
The Palestinian have a right to growth in all areas of the West Bank, Lynk said, adding that such rights were granted them under international law through the Declaration of the Right to Development.
Separately, in the report he charged that Israeli security forces used disproportionate force in responding to Palestinian attacks against Israelis. Such actions, Lynk said,  only compounds such violence.
In the report he blamed the Palestinian violence in part on a lack of hope among Palestinian minors and questioned whether in some cases the attacks occurred at all.
“Violent attacks of any kind by anyone are unacceptable. The fact that the attacks and alleged attacks by Palestinians against Israelis are, not infrequently, responded to with disproportionate and deadly force only compounds the violence,” said Lynk.
“Many of the attacks and alleged attacks have been committed by minors, which is particularly worrying because of the hopelessness it seems to represent,” added Lynk.
In many instances, he said, Israel has failed to investigate these attacks, to see if lethal force was appropriately used, even though in several documented cases,  “it is clear those killed had not posed the level of threat that, according to international standards, would merit the use of deadly force.”
Israel’s standard for the use of deadly force, he said, falls below international standards. The lack of accountability for such actions, Lynk said, “helps to perpetuate a cycle of continued violence, as soldiers appear to act with impunity, with the message being sent that Palestinian lives do not matter, while the Palestinian population becomes both more fearful and more desperate.”
Lynk also took Israel to task for its use of “collective punishment” in response to such attacks, either by revoking travel and work permits of those from the same community as the perpetrator or by demolishing the family’s home.
He called on Israel to end the occupation, to thoroughly investigate the use of lethal force, end administrative detentions, reduce the number of child detainees, end all forms of collective punishment.
Since the wave of terror began in October of last year, Palestinians have executed 166 stabbing attacks, 89 attempted stabbings, 109 shootings, 47 vehicular ramming attacks and one bus bombing, according to the Foreign Ministry. The attacks have claimed 42 victims, it added.
According to The Washington Post, Israel security forces have killed at least 149 Palestinians who were executing such attacks.