The Jordan Times (Editorial)
November 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel came last week under the scrutiny of the UN body mandated to monitor the application of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The last time Israel appeared before this rights body was in 2003.

The main issue, then and now, has been Israel’s application of the covenant to the inhabitants of West Bank and Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv contends that it bears no responsibility for giving effect to international human rights norms in the occupied Palestinian territories and that only humanitarian law, rather than legislation on human rights, is applicable to the Palestinian territories.

Israel also argues that it does not enjoy effective control over the occupied territories as Palestinians have taken full charge of their daily lives.

These Israeli contentions fly in the face of the 2004 decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which states, in no uncertain terms, that Israel does enjoy effective control over the Palestinian territories, that international human rights conventions are applicable to these areas and that Israel has the responsibility to respect and enforce them.

The UN rights committee also came to the conclusion that since without authorisation from Israel nothing comes in or out of these territories, nor flies over them, Israel has effective control over the Palestinian territories and must therefore shoulder the responsibility of an occupying power.

It has to ensure that the Palestinians enjoy their full economic, social and cultural rights as stipulated by the covenant.

Israel’s disregard for the findings of UN treaty bodies and the ruling of the ICJ troubles the entire UN system.

The Israeli defiance of the UN system as a whole has to be put a stop to, as a prelude to solving the Palestinian file on the basis of international law.

As long as Israel rejects legal international rulings, there is no chance whatsoever for a political settlement of its problem with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours.

If the international community has the means to constrain certain regimes to treat their citizens right, it should use them, and display the political will, to compel Israel to comply with its obligations.


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