Adalah, The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has called on the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel (CoI-OPTI) to "investigate the Nakba and the ongoing existence of a colonial regime with apartheid characteristics."
The Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, Mohammed Barakeh, and Adalah representatives appeared yesterday before the CoI in Amman Jordan to investigate the "root causes" of the conflict, including the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian from their homes referred to as Nakba (The Catastrophe).
The UN inquiry was also urged to probe into the "massive land confiscation from Palestinians; the continuing ban on Palestinian family unification; systemic discrimination in the distribution of state resources, which deepens the gaps between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel; and restrictions on political participation." Adalah highlighted discriminatory laws, such as the Jewish Nation-State Law, the Law of Return and the Absentees' Property Law.
"Adalah welcomes the establishment of the UN Commission of Inquiry, which allows an independent UN body to examine, in-depth, for the very first time, the root causes of the conflict and severe human rights violations committed against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line," said the rights group.
"There is ample evidence that Israel pursues racist practices against all Palestinians under its control, practices that are contrary to the norms of international law that have no place in the world. Now that Israel has constitutionally enshrined Jewish supremacy, under the Jewish Nation-State Law, there is a moral obligation to defend the human rights of all Palestinians, including those who hold Israeli citizenship."
The CoI-OPTI was established by a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) with a resolution adopted on 27 May 2021, following Israel's assault on Palestinian worshippers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan last year and its 11 day bombardment of the Gaza strip, which resulted in 256 Palestinian deaths, including 66 children and 40 women (of which, 5 were disabled people).
This latest inquiry differs in significant ways from previous UN independent commissions. Firstly, its mandate includes the OPT and Israel, which will enable the CoI to address human rights violations perpetrated against the Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Second, the inquiry is not time-bound; it is an ongoing investigation which will examine all aspects of Israel's violations of international and humanitarian law committed leading up to and since 13 April 2021.
Third, the HRC also gave the commission of inquiry an extensive mandate to examine all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.