A home demolition in Hebron. (Photo: Occupied Palestine)
Israel is dispossessing Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as its Arab minority with a “strategy of Judaisation,” a United Nations representative charged on Sunday.
Presenting her preliminary findings after a tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories this month, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, said she had seen a pattern of discrimination.
“From the Galilee and the Negev to east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israeli authorities promote a territorial development model that excludes, discriminates against and displaces minorities, particularly affecting Palestinian communities, side by side with the accelerated development of predominantly Jewish settlements,” she said.
“As a whole, it is clear that Israeli policies and practices for the Palestinian population in east Jerusalem and the West Bank violate international human rights and humanitarian law,” she added. . .
Her findings will be presented to Israel and the Palestinians, before being compiled into a final report due out in May 2013.
The initial findings presented on Sunday also accuse Israel of violating the rights of “low income persons of all identities, who find it increasingly difficult to obtain housing under existing policies.”
Rolnik noted that the state controls 93% of the land inside Israel, providing it with a “golden opportunity to promote housing,” she said.
“You can control land prices here, unlike other countries,” she said.
Helena Cobban added in an email to me:
What is really interesting is this UN official moving from a laws-of-war (IHL) context for her judgments to using a generalized anti-discrimination frame that extends seamlessly over the (once and former) Green Line.
From one perspective this is very concerning. Under IHL Israel, as the occupying power in East Jerusalem, has no right to move any of its civilian population into OEJ, period. And that would apply whether it implanted a robust mix of Palestinian-Israeli citizens and Jewish-Israeli citizens into OEJ and the rest of the occupied West Bank, or not. (Which of course, it doesn’t.)
From another perspective, this shift from an IHL optic to a general human-rights optic erases the increasingly fictional notion of the Green Line. It focuses an international spotlight on issues of gross housing and land-use discrimination inside as well as outside 1948 Israel… and it opens the way for a much more robust discussion of Palestinian *rights*, as such, and how they may be restored…