UN inquiry finds Israel responsible for “root causes” of last year’s violence in Palestine

COI_web.pngMontreal, June 7, 2022 — Israeli practices of occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the “root causes” of last year’s violence, according to the first report by the United Nation’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The UN inquiry found that although both Israel and Palestinian authorities are responsible for human rights violations, Israel nonetheless holds far greater responsibility due to the asymmetrical nature of the occupation and other mechanisms of oppression. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urges the Canadian government to publicly welcome the findings of the inquiry and take steps to address the root causes of violence in Palestine.

“The UN report warns that peace will remain an impossibility until we dismantle Israel’s structures of oppression, including its military occupation,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Unfortunately, current Canadian policy aims to maintain the status quo, from exporting weapons to Israel to giving trade benefits to illegal settlement businesses,” added Bueckert. CJPME looks forward to future reports from the inquiry which will include recommendations for accountability measures, and will assess the responsibilities of third States like Canada and private Canadian businesses in the continued policies of occupation.

This is the first report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel (CoI), which was established by the UN Human Rights Council following Israel’s assault on Gaza in May 2021. CJPME notes that investigators were prevented by the Israeli government from accessing Israel or the occupied territories for the purpose of this probe. Unlike previous inquiries, the CoI has a mandate to investigate historical context and root causes, including discrimination within Israel itself, making its analysis more comprehensive. Some of its findings include:

  • The report noted that its “findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel,” due to the “asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one State occupying the other”;
  • The report concluded that “ending the occupation of lands by Israel” remains “essential in ending the persistent cycle of violence,” but that it is also necessary to address discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere;
  • The report found that “Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, has clear policies for ensuring complete control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and is acting to alter the demography through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers.”

CJPME notes that Canada has failed to demonstrate support for the work of the CoI, despite its vocal support for similar mechanisms in Ukraine and elsewhere. Instead, Canada has maintained an ambivalent if not hostile attitude towards the investigation. In December 2021, Canada abstained on an Israeli amendment to defund the inquiry, while expressing “significant concerns” with the inquiry related to Canada’s “long-standing opposition to the disproportionate focus on Israel.” CJPME urges Canada to support this international mechanism of accountability, and to end its practice of protecting Israel from legitimate criticism in international forums.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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