Human Rights Council, 22nd session - Human rights situation in Palestine
Statement on human rights in Palestine
Monday 18 March 2013, Mr. Martin Eyjolfsson, the Ambassador of Iceland to the United Nations in Geneva, delivered a statement during the Interactive Dialouge with the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
The statement by Iceland
One year ago this Council decided to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory; including East Jerusalem, on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.
The fact-finding mission has now delivered its report. While the basic conclusions are hardly surprising, the seriousness of the violations of international human right law and international humanitarian law described in the report is highly disturbing.
Fundamentally, Israel’s settlement project, with the extensive construction and infrastructure it brings, is a serious hindrance to the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State. It undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, a right that was reaffirmed November last year, when the General Assembly adopted Resolution 67/19 according Palestine non-Member Observer State status at the United Nations. This is a solemn right, in our view, one which Iceland specifically addressed in 2011 through our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Palestine.
Iceland fully supports the recommendations of the fact-finding mission regarding the immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli settlement activities. We similarly call upon Israel to put an end to the human rights violations that are linked to the presence of the settlements, and Israel must likewise be expected to ensure full accountability for all violations, including for all acts of settler violence. The policy of impunity for settlers responsible for acts of violence and intimidation, described in the report, must end.
The Government of Israel regrettably rejected all cooperation with the fact-finding mission and chose to refuse it entry into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This does not absolve Israel from the duty to respond to the serious charges laid out against it in this report, and many other previous reports.
We would like to direct the following questions to the members of the fact-finding mission:
- You recommend that Israel puts an end to arbitrary arrest and detention of the Palestinian People, especially children. We find it utterly incomprehensible that children are being held in the manner described in the report. Can you elaborate on the situation of children in detention and how they can be protected against such violence?
- You note in the report that women alone in their homes and other vulnerable groups are easy targets for settler violence. What recommendation(s) does the Commission offer to address this problem?