In a statement launched today, tens of Palestinian civil society organizations, professional associations, unions, human rights and advocacy groups, and networks, representing an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society, called on governments to adopt “effective countermeasures, including sanctions” to “stop Israel’s illegal annexation of the Occupied West Bank and grave violations of human rights.”
The groups denounced Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people as an “apartheid regime of racial discrimination, segregation and territorial expansion that is enshrined in Israel’s domestic law.”
They said “criticism and rhetorical denouncements by the United Nations and its members alone” are insufficient to deter Israel’s illegal acts, and that States need to adopt these “concrete measures that give effect to their international obligations.”
Specifically, the Palestinian civil society statement calls for States to take the following actions to stop Israel’s illegal annexation:
● Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel.
● Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel.
● Prohibit all trade with the illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from/terminate business with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.
● Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.
The statement calling to counter Israel’s “looming annexation” was issued by the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), which represents eleven Palestinian human rights organizations. Other initial signers of the letter include a number of Palestinian trade unions, and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), representing 69 Palestinian non-governmental organizations. More Palestinian civil society groups are expected to sign the statement in the coming days.
The Palestinian civil society groups said these steps are necessary because “Israel’s new right-wing government is once more set to formally annex large swathes of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”
They noted that “de jure annexation would culminate years of gradual de facto annexation through the appropriation of land, forcible displacement of Palestinian population and the transfer of Israeli settler population in the OPT.”
The letter cited the precedents of similar actions taken in the past by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council in condemning apartheid, and commended “the more than 130 British MPs who have urged the UK government to adopt sanctions should Israel’s government go ahead with its annexation plan.”
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.