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Israel Accused of Denying Palestinian ‘Right to Life’ During Activist’s Speech to UN Commission

avatar by Andrew Bernard

Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists into Israel, amid Israel-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza, August 7, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

A Palestinian activist claimed on Tuesday that Israel has removed the “right to life” of Palestinians throughout Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during a speech before a UN panel in Geneva.

“We as Palestinians have basically zero to no rights–even the right to life, the most basic right,” Ubai Al-Aboudi — executive director of the Ramallah-based Bisan Center for Research and Development — told the second day of a five-day meeting of the “UN Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” created by the global body’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in the wake of the May 2021 war between the IDF and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.  

“Every political system between the river and the sea violates basic Palestinian human rights,” Al-Aboudi said, using a form of words associated with advocates who seek to end Israel’s existence as a sovereign Jewish state.

Bisan and the other NGOs were outlawed in 2021 by the Israeli government for their connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel as well as by the United States and European Union. The groups deny the charges.

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Other speakers at the panel denounced Israel in similar terms. Shawan Jabarin, the executive director of Al-Haq, another of the NGOs that was banned, said on Monday said that Israel used “mafia methods” to pursue the groups. Another activist, Hanan Husein, told the parley that “Israel collects its evidence through the use of torture mechanisms, illegal surveillance, evidence planting, and trying people in front of an illegal occupation system that is designed to keep the Palestinian people subjugated to human rights violations.” 

Israel has dismissed the commission as another demonstration of what Jerusalem regards as the UN’s systemic bias against the Jewish state. “The Commissioners pretend they care about international law and human rights but convene public hearings that any autocracy would be proud of,” a statement from the Israeli Mission to the UN in Geneva declared on Monday. “This Commission of Inquiry and the convening of these sham trials shame and undermine the Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council should not be used to convene kangaroo courts.” 

The commission, formally known as “the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel,” was established by a resolution of the UN Human Rights Council in 2021, and is tasked with investigating alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza.

One of the three commissioners, Miloon Kothari, expressed his “regret” in August for comments he made in an interview in which he questioned why Israel was a member of the United Nations and asserted that criticism of the commission was the result of the control of social media by the “Jewish lobby.”

“Apartheid itself is a very useful paradigm,” Kothari said at a press briefing on 27 October about whether the commission would investigate the charge of apartheid against Israel. 

In addition to the NGOs, the commission will also hear testimony about the killing of Palestinian-Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The hearings will conclude on Friday.

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