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UN passes 4 Palestinian-backed resolutions in landmark victory

March 24, 2016 10:41 P.M. (Updated: March 25, 2016 6:42 P.M.)
Special Rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territory Makarim Wibisono. (Photo Credit: PLO Negotiation Affairs Department Twitter)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- In a landmark victory for the Palestinian leadership, the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday passed four resolutions relating to the occupied Palestinian territory, one of which will draw up a "blacklist" of companies who do business in illegal Israeli settlements.

The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department said that in addition to the resolution regarding settlements -- which passed 32 to 0 -- a resolution was adopted recognizing the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

A resolution focused on Palestinian human rights that was passed by the council addressed Israeli army closures in areas under occupation, as well as home demolitions, violations of religious sites, and "extrajudicial" killings carried out by Israeli forces.

Another resolution to enact proper investigative systems to ensure accountability for violations carried out by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory was also passed by the council.

The resolution proposed by the Palestinian leadership obliging the UN Human Rights Council to form a database of all actors conducting business in areas under Israeli military occupation reportedly received major opposition from the US and EU prior to Thursday’s vote.

The Western leaders reportedly warned that the resolution would come at the detriment to aid given to the Palestinian Authority.

However, the resolution echoes a recent EU decision to label products made in illegal Israeli settlements, a victory for the BDS movement which attempts to use boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel to end its decades-long military occupation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media following Thursday's vote referred to the UN Human Rights Council an "anti-Israel circus."

The PM called on “"responsible governments not to honor the decisions of the Council that discriminate against Israel."

However, Palestinian Envoy to the UN Human Rights Council Ibrahim Khreisheh called Thursday's vote a "message of hope" for the Palestinian people.

Khreisheh called on all countries to respect the resolutions, pointing to past failures of the international community to act on UN measures regarding Israel.

"As the belligerent occupying power, Israel continues to systematically violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinians while enjoying impunity from the international community, despite numerous UN resolutions demanding an equitable and just end to the occupation," Khreisheh said.

"We ask countries opposed to the implementation of international law in the occupied State of Palestine to consider the impact their disregard for international law has within the international legal sphere and the Israeli violations they are perpetuating against the Palestinian people."

On Monday, Special Rapporteur to the occupied Palestinian territory Makarim Wibisono gave a particularly scathing report of Israeli violations in an address to the UN Human Rights Council.

Wibisono said that since he took up his post in June 2014, Israel had not allowed him direct access to victims in parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, despite repeated requests.

The human rights expert emphasized the "desperate need" for effective protection of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, and castigated Israel for its many failures as an occupying power and the international community for offering no protection.

"I have been struck by the abundance of information documenting violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and the seeming inability of the international community to match what is known of the situation with more effective protection of Palestinians,” Wibisono said.

In recent years, the Palestinian leadership has made a concerted effort to place international pressure on Israel to end its military occupation after decades of failed peace negotiations.
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