HIC-HLRN has submitted a parallel report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) on Israel’s Implementation of Covenant Rights and Obligations Related to Habitat, in advance of CESCR`s 66th Session on 2–3 October 2019, when the State of Israel will be reviewed. The catalyst for this particular report was recent violations around the city of Jerusalem, demonstrating the continuing institutional material discrimination by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people, whether as citizens, residents of the occupied territories, or Palestine refugees.

In June 2019, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) approved demolition orders for 16 buildings that included 100 housing units belonging to Palestinian families in Sur Bahir, a Palestinian village of some 24,000 in the West Bank that Israel had absorbed in the unilaterally declared border of occupied Jerusalem. This incident provided yet another example whereby an organ of the state party (HCJ) served to legalize the institutional material discrimination against the indigenous people of the territory within its jurisdiction and effective control—as well as refugees among them— through the gross violation of human rights, in particular, the human right to adequate housing.

HIC-HLRN`s report highlights the blatantly false statements made in Israel`s reporting to the UN system. In its response to the CESCR list of issues, Israel reported that its Supreme Court promotes “the principle of equality and non-discrimination through the development of jurisprudence, strongly relaying [sic] on the principle of equality and non-discrimination as a constitutional principle.” Yet over the years the Israeli HCJ has issued hundreds of rulings permitting the demolition Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, the West Bank and inside the Green Line (1948 Armistice Lines), providing legal cover for the crimes of the Israeli occupation by systematizing the dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people. Meanwhile, Israeli law, institutions and budgets support the planning and proliferation of settler colonies, prohibited as war crimes and crimes against humanity under international criminal law.

In its Voluntary National Review to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) omits any mention of its apartheid policies and practices such as demolishing homes and confiscating lands and other properties of the Palestinian people. Rather, toward SDG 11, Israel’s VNR claims to pursue “better urbanism” that strengthens the “inclusiveness of cities and regions.” Yet Israeli legislation and occupation forces regularly expel Palestinians from Jerusalem by demolishing homes, stripping residency status and denying building permits, amounting to demographic manipulation within state jurisdiction, as inside the Green Line, and cross-border population transfer, as in Jerusalem and the West Bank’s Area C. These consistent practices of the state party stand in stark contradiction to its 20-year history of oral and written claims to this Committee.

A detailed outline of the particular economic, social and cultural rights that Israel has violated, and continues to violate, through its policies and practices of home demolition and population transfer is provided by the report. These include the Right to Decent Work (Articles 6–8 of the Covenant), the Human Right to Food (Article 11) and the Human Right to Adequate Housing (Article 11). The report emphasizes the role of Israel`s parastatal institutions – particularly the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – in these and other violations.

Despite the Committee’s repeated requests, the state party has undertaken no review of the institutional forms of material discrimination against persons not of Jewish faith, in general, nor against the indigenous Palestinians, in particular. These issues and breaches of the Covenant remain current today, 20 years and three intervening CESCR reviews later.

Download the parallel report here.