Jerusalem24 – A coalition of human rights NGOs have signed a letter expressing support for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, in light of a “mounting attack” against it “led by Israel.”
The UN Human Rights Council mandated the Commission of Inquiry on 27 May 2021 to “investigate […] all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Palestine and Israel.
The Commission issued its first report on 7 June in which it identifies Israel’s “continued occupation of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians” as the key root causes of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Commissioner Chris Sidoti said at the time that Israel “clearly has no intention of ending the occupation.”
Israel and its ally the United States have repeatedly slammed the Commission and its three-member panel, with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid calling for its dissolution earlier this month.
The NGO letter expresses support for the Commission’s mandate and mission:
“The Commission is particularly fundamental in light of Israel’s ongoing crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, and its longstanding impunity, coupled with the deliberate failure of third states to recognise the situation as it is in Palestine, or take actions to bring the illegal occupation and apartheid to an end, including failing to implement recommendations from previous UN investigative mechanisms.”
“We call on all States to provide the utmost political, institutional and material support, and to engage in good faith with the mandate of the [Commission], to enable this important accountability mechanism to continue with its mandate unhindered.”
The letter also draws attention to “the unique and historic mandate of the present Commission, the first permanent UN investigative body with a comprehensive mandate covering colonised Palestine [and] the entirety of the Palestinian people,” and explains this as a reason for the persistent attacks on its credibility and mandate.
“Since its establishment, the Commission has been under pressing and coordinated attacks by Israel, a US-led coalition of States, and civil society, alleging its mandate and work as ‘biased’ and ‘disproportionately focusing on Israel’.”
The letter boasts 57 signatories, including 16 from Palestine, and 41 from the wider global NGO network.