The Levy report on the Israeli occupation and West Bank settlements has everyone talking–mostly about the absurd and delusional nature of the conclusion, which is that there is no occupation. A much needed rejoinder to the Levy report will be published in the coming months in the form of a United Nations report on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
Based on the UN record on this issue, the report will surely state that there is an occupation, and that the settlements are illegal under international law–the opposite conclusion of the Levy report.
The latest news on the UN Human Rights Council’s plan to investigate settlements is that an expert panel has been established to investigate “the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The establishment of the panel comes after the Council voted in March by a large margin to establish such an investigation (with the US as the only no vote). Israel reacted to the vote by severing all ties to the Human Rights Council.
Here’s the UN statement on the panel established:
[Laura] Dupuy Lasserre [president of the Council] said she had appointed Christine Chanet, Unity Dow, and Asma Jahangir to carry out the Council’s fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory. The mission would be chaired by Ms. Chanet. They each had a long track record of impartial, independent and objective human rights work of the highest caliber. The President reiterated the Council’s request to Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to cooperate fully with the mission.
Haaretz has more on the Israeli government’s reaction:
Israel called the action “flawed and biased” and said it will not cooperate with the mission.
“The mission’s existence embodies the inherent distortion that typifies the UNHRC treatment of Israel and the hijacking of the important human rights agenda by non-democratic countries,” Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
It’s no surprise that the panel will not be allowed to enter Israel or the occupied territories. From the Goldstone report to UN efforts to investigate the Mavi Marmara incident, Israel has long eschewed cooperation with the Human Rights Council.
But ironically, the fact that Israel has the power to prevent the investigators from entering the West Bank shows once again that, yes, Palestine is occupied. What would the Levy report say to that fact?