UN committee to examine Palestinian apartheid charges against Israel – The Jerusalem Post

A United Nations arbitrations committee is poised to examine a Palestinian Authority complaint that Israel has committed acts of apartheid. The move comes as civil society allegations against the Jewish state on the issue of apartheid by Israeli left-wing NGOs such as Yesh Din and B’Tselem and by the US based Human Rights Watch have made headlines. Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva issued a sharp retort on the matter Monday, after the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) said Friday it planned to advance the matter. CERD “has applied discriminatory standards against Israel to justify its outrageous decision on the admissibility of the politically motivated Palestinian complaint,” the mission said. The Palestinian Authority in contrast welcomed the decision issued on Friday as the committee wrapped up its April session. CERD’s action, it said, proved that “Israel’s racism and discrimination against the Palestinian people violate the basic tenets of international law and humanity as a whole.” The PA had initially filed its complaint with CERD on April 23, 2018. The matter would have been dealt with in 2020, but was delayed due to COVID-19.

CERD is the monitoring body of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that went into effect in 1969. Its 18-member body examines all states for compliance on a routine, rotating basis. It also evaluates complaints of non-compliance. Both Israel and the PA are signatories to the convention, which prohibits apartheid under Article 3. “States Parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction,” the convention states. The PA has complained to CERD that Israel is not in compliance with Articles 2, 3 and 5 of the convention. At issue are Israeli actions in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.   CERD ROUTINELY examines Israeli compliance with the convention, as it does with all signatories. Israel participates in all such reviews, the last of which was held in 2019. The committee also reviewed Palestinian compliance in that same year. Israel has taken CERD reviews seriously because the committee is composed of a professional body and is largely presumed not to exhibit the same level of anti-Israel bias as the UN organs that are composed of representatives of member states. The arbitration procedure is not part of the normative review, with an ad hoc, five-member panel, known as the conciliatory committee being appointed to deal with the matter. On Friday, CERD said it had rejected Israel’s argument that the PA claim should be dismissed and planned to appoint such a committee. Already in 2019 CERD had dismissed an opinion in support of Israel by a UN legal advisory body that the Palestinian claim was inadmissible. The former Trump administration had also spoken out against the PA’s claim. “After careful considerations, on 30 April 2021, the Committee had decided with consensus, by the non-participation of four members, to reject the exceptions raised by the respondent concerning the admissibility of the inter-State communication [by the PA],” it stated. “Therefore, it requested its Chair to appoint, in accordance with article 12 (1) of the Convention, the members of an ad hoc Conciliation Commission, which shall make its good offices available to the States concerned with a view to an amicable solution of the matter on the basis of States parties’ compliance with the Convention,” CERD said. Israel said in response that, “despite an unequivocal finding of the UN Office of Legal Affairs that the Committee lacked jurisdiction; despite the absence of treaty relations between Israel and the Palestinians; and in stark contrast to its own past practice, the Committee determined (December 2019) it had jurisdiction to consider this spurious complaint. “Now the committee has decided that proceedings in this matter can continue,” the Israeli mission stated. “The Committee has decided to apply an operating standard to Israel and disregard both facts and law to reach a predetermined and agenda-driven conclusion,” it said. CERD hinted that it would not participate in the proceedings but did not make that statement outright. In “light of the Committee’s shameless and biased decision, it is clear that Israel cannot expect to receive fair and non-discriminatory treatment from this body, and will conduct its relations with it accordingly,” the mission said.
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UN committee to examine Palestinian apartheid charges against Israel – The Jerusalem Post

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