Editor: Hady Matar

Emma Herman, BA candidate, 2017, University of Chicago

Samar Khan, JD candidate, 2017, New York University

Anjali Manivannan, JD, New York University
(2013 Law Fellowship)

Alice McBurney, LLB (Hons), Australian National University (2014 Law Fellowship)

Asma Peracha, JD candidate, 2017, New York University (2015 Law Fellowship)

Justin Schwegel, JD, Georgetown University

Anan Abu Shanab, MSc, University of Oxford

In July 2014, the UN Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip and Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. These hostilities claimed over 2,200 Palestinian lives, including at least 1,483 civilians and 521 children; and 71 Israeli lives, including four civilians. The Commission issued its report on 22 June 2015.

Palestine Works and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem submitted a report to the Commission that focused exclusively on IHL and IHRL violations committed in occupied East Jerusalem during the summer of 2014. The report documents and analyses incitement and acts of violence against Palestinians, excessive and unjustified use of force by the Israeli security forces, a surge in arrest, detentions and home invasions, and unprecedented Israeli restrictions on Palestinian cultural and religious practices, including restrictions on access and worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The drafting team, led by our deputy director, Hady Matar, was comprised of law students and recent law graduates, including four alumni of our Law Fellowship.

· ‘Normal' life in occupied East Jerusalem is regulated by laws, policies and practices that systematically discriminate against Palestinians, seek their forcible transfer from the city, and repress opposition to these measures. The objective is to consolidate Israeli control over ‘unified Jerusalem’ and foreclose an end to the occupation that accords with international law. 

· The extraordinary IHL and IHRL violations committed in East Jerusalem in the context of Israeli military operations that began 13 June 2014 cannot be decontextualized from the 'normal' state of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, which is illegal per se under IHL and engenders continuous and systematic IHRL violations. 

· Insofar as the extraordinary IHL and IHRL violations committed since 13 June 2014 are but an expression of Israel’s ‘normal’ laws, policies and practices of discrimination, dispossession and repression against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel has no intent of changing, primary responsibility for accountability and reparation lies with the international community.

· The UN Security Council’s failure to exercise its responsibilities arising from IHL and IHRL violations committed during previous Israeli military operations has contributed to a climate of impunity for such violations, including those occurring since 13 June 2014, and compels action by the UN General Assembly, regional organizations, and individual states.

· The Commission should recommend that the General Assembly adopt resolutions calling for an embargo on military aid and cooperation with Israel, and banning all trade and cooperation with Israel that contribute to the illegal settlement enterprise in occupied Palestinian territory.

· The Commission should call on individual states and regional organizations to support these resolutions by adopting similar measures regarding their relations with the Israeli government. The right and responsibility of states to investigate violations of peremptory norms, based on the concept of universal jurisdiction, should be recognized and the prosecution of such violations in national courts should be encouraged.

· The Commission should call on the General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the nature and legal status of Israel’s prolonged occupation, including whether the occupation features elements of colonialism and apartheid, and the responsibilities of states and international organizations to bring an end to the occupation.