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Maan report details Israel's 'Endemic impunity'

A report by Maan Development Centre, titled 'Endemic Impunity – Israeli violations of international law in the Jordan Valley' (2013) makes use of legal debate and Israeli manipulation of international law to avoid accountability for its actions against Palestinians. Departing from legal frameworks which Israel regularly disregards in order to impose its institutional and degrading occupation structure, the report portrays ways through which basic rights have been denied throughout decades of occupation, supported by laws which Israel enacted to ensure the dependence of Palestinian people and empower the settler-colonial agenda.

Maan research shows that Israel is in breach of various legislations pertaining to human rights, including Hague Regulations, the Fourth Geneva Convention, International Customary Law, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Israel's manipulation of the occupied territories into 'disputed' territories has facilitated the process of dispossession. The reversal of the occupation within the Israeli narrative allows for interpretations which obfuscate legitimacy in terms of power, despite international rejection of Israel's reading of international law. However, the international rejection needs to be carefully assessed – while international organisations have asserted that 'Israel is acting as a belligerent occupier of the Occupied Palestinian territories', so far there has been no comprehensive approach which holds Israel responsible and accountable for countless human rights violations.

Israel's reliance upon the Oslo framework, which entrenched Palestinian subjugation even further, facilitated the occupier's control over the occupied population. With security measures and cooperation playing a major role in the dynamics of Israeli and Palestinian Authority leadership, deprivation due to control over economy and development has created a myriad of repercussions upon Palestinians whose struggle to reclaim land also entails a daily struggle for survival.

Land reclamation has been thwarted by Israel's declaration of unregistered Palestinian land as 'state land', backed by the 1950 Absentee Property law allowing the occupying power to confiscate private land in violation of the Hague Regulations on the right to private property. Settlements have exacerbated living conditions for Palestinians besides displacement – the theft of basic resources such as water, settler terrorism, dual law system whereby Israelis are tried in civilian courts and Palestinians fall under military rule, the elimination of territorial integrity, restrictions on freedom of movement, discriminatory work conditions and arrangements; all of which have had serious repercussions on children and the right to education. Discrepancies between schools for Palestinian children and those attended by children of Israeli settlers have been highlighted in previous reports, as well as the systematic oppression which has shacked children to a difficult choice between a semblance of education and the necessity to maintain a family through working in settlements under harsh conditions.

Israel's manipulation of the allegedly temporary nature of the occupation has been clearly outlined in the report. The necessary step forward would be for international organisations to stop appeasing Israel by uttering mere condemnations of its international law violations; focusing instead on eliminating the penchant for supporting the imperialist driven attitude of impunity in Israel's regard.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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