Separate and Unequal
To the Government of Israel
Israel should accept its obligations as an occupying power to cease support and subsidies for settlers, settlements, and regional councils in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, dismantle the settlements, and ensure the welfare of the Palestinian population. Pending fulfillment of those obligations, Israel should:
- Accept that human rights prohibitions against discrimination, including with regard to the rights to housing, education, medical care, freedom of movement, access to water, and other rights, apply to Israel’s actions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
- Immediately suspend discriminatory policies that privilege settlers and harm Palestinians, and afford Palestinians treatment that is at least equal to that afforded to settlers, including by:
- Ending policies that arbitrarily prevent Palestinians from obtaining construction permits, and ensuring that permitted building is adequate to Palestinian needs, taking into account the urgent need for construction to compensate for over-crowding in built-up areas and inadequate infrastructure for residential and agricultural land use due to prior restrictions;
- Ensuring that plans for development include adequate and equitable development for Palestinians, including by reforming the planning system to incorporate meaningful Palestinian representation on planning bodies;
- Ending selective enforcement of planning, permit, and building laws and regulations that subject Palestinian property to higher rates of demolition orders and demolitions while Jewish settlement homes are retroactively authorized;
- Ensuring that demolitions of Palestinian homes and other property are carried out only as a last resort, are strictly necessary as required by a legitimate state purpose in accordance with Israel’s human rights obligations and its obligations as an occupying power, and are fully compensated;
- Ending policies that arbitrarily confiscate Palestinian lands by expelling residents from, or preventing land use in, areas declared “closed military zones” or nature reserves or areas under the control of settlements or settlement regional councils unless such actions can be justified by narrowly tailored military necessity;
- Suspending policies that arbitrarily determine land ownership by refusing to recognize the land ownership rights of Palestinians who were “absentees” on the date Israel occupied the West Bank, or who cannot prove to have continuously cultivated their agricultural lands at all times since 1967;
- Suspending all declarations of Israeli control over land except in cases of genuine military necessity, and in such cases limiting control of land in time and area to the shortest and smallest amount possible;
- Reevaluating and limiting the areas reserved exclusively for settlers (including the jurisdictional areas of individual settlements and of regional settlement councils) or military authorities for the benefit of settlers, including “closed military zones,” to areas strictly necessary for security;
- Ensuring that policies restricting freedom of movement are narrowly limited to current security needs, that the burden of achieving security goals is borne equitably by Jewish settlers rather than imposed in a discriminatory fashion on Palestinians, and that security policies are narrowly tailored to address clearly defined security threats, with restrictive measures proportionate to such threats;
- Ceasing the discriminatory extraction and allocation of natural resources such as water; and
- Providing equitable access to water, electricity, road networks, educational and health care facilities, and other essential services for Palestinian residents living under Israeli control.
- In East Jerusalem, in addition to ceasing support for settlements and suspending discriminatory policies as described above:
- Ensure that municipal and other resources are expended proportionately to the needs of the population, including by urgently redressing Palestinians’ lack of equitable access to paved roads, sanitation networks and other infrastructure, and to schools, hospitals, and other public services;
- Repudiate and suspend as inherently discriminatory planning policies intended to “maintain” a demographic majority of Jewish residents; and
- Ensure planning solutions on a non-discriminatory basis for the over-crowded Palestinians sector.
- To ensure that policies of discrimination and forced displacement are discontinued and that victims are properly compensated, and considering Israeli courts’ failure to adjudicate claims that settlements and their associated infrastructure are discriminatory, create a national commission of inquiry, empowered to subpoena Israeli officials and documents as necessary, that will receive and investigate complaints from Palestinian residents of the West Bank who have been harmed by Israeli policies, and recommend changes in government policy to end such unlawful discrimination and forced displacement pending withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank.
To the Government of the United States
Avoid policies that support the features of Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and otherwise violate international law, including by:
- Avoiding offsetting the costs of Israeli expenditures on settlements by withholding U.S. funding from the Israeli government in an amount equivalent to its expenditures on settlements and related infrastructure in the West Bank;
- Assessing and analyzing the role played by donations from tax-exempt charities in supporting discriminatory and other illegal aspects of the settlements. To this end Congress should request a report from the General Accounting Office on the subject of tax-exempt organizations that support settlements and settlement-related activities. Such a study should include specific assessments of the amounts and types of donations involved and the actual end-uses of such donations in the settlements. The report should also address whether current laws and regulations regarding charitable organizations ensure that tax-exempt status is not granted to organizations that facilitate human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law, are adequately enforced, and whether they are adequate or require revision.
To the International community, Including the United States and European Union
Ensure that policies do not promote settlement activity, such as the discriminatory violations of Palestinian human rights documented in this report, by enforcing tariff agreements in accordance with international law, such that Israeli settlement goods are not given preferential treatment, including by requiring and enforcing clear origin labeling.
To the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Follow up and provide early warning on the discriminatory impact of Israeli settlement policies and practices on the Palestinian population of the West Bank.
To Businesses Profiting from Settlements
In accordance with their corporate codes of ethics and with international guidelines, such as the Ruggie Framework, stating that businesses should respect the human rights of those affected by their activities:
- Review involvement in settlements to determine the degree to which they contribute to and/or benefit from violations of Palestinian residents’ human rights;
- Identify and implement strategies to prevent and mitigate any corporate involvement in such abuses; and
- In cases where business activity directly contributes to serious violations of international law, including prohibitions against discrimination, take action to end such involvement in legal violations, including where necessary ending such operations altogether.