Ref: 82/2010


From 22 – 26 November 2010, the UN Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will examine several States Parties’
reports concerning implementation of the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Of particular concern are the measures
“adopted and the progress made in achieving the observance” and fulfilment of
the entire spectrum of economic, social and cultural rights.


During this session, the Committee will examine
Israel’s third periodic report; this report covers the intervening nine years
since Israel’s last report, submitted in October 2001. In response to this
submission, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)submitted an
alternative shadow report highlighting Israel’s systematic violation of ICESCR
in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).


From a human rights perspective, these nine years
have arguably been the worst in the history of the occupation. For example,
extensive closures have been imposed on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; house
demolitions, settlements, and the illegal annexation of land have increased;
and civilians have been subject to numerous military offensives resulting in
widespread death, injury and destruction. During Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18
January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip, public and private infrastructure was
extensively and deliberately targeted and attacked, destroying the economic and
social infrastructure. As a result of the ongoing illegal closure, the people
of Gaza have not been allowed to rebuild and recover. This offensive
highlighted Israel’s longstanding and systematic violations of international
law throughout the oPt, and the devastating consequences for Palestinian


The ongoing illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, termed
‘economic warfare’ by Israeli forces, constitutes the collective punishment of
the civilian population. As noted in the submitted report, the closure makes
the achievement of, inter alia, even
the most basic ICESCR rights impossible, and must be immediately lifted. PCHR
affirms that the international community must take immediate action to lift the
closure, and avoid the risk that it becomes institutionalised.


Israel’s belligerent occupation of the oPt, and the
illegal policies of the occupation, have resulted in chronic economic
de-development, and socio-cultural strangulation. This has resulted in a
human-made, and completely preventable, humanitarian situation, where civilians
are reduced to dependency on food and developmental aid, as their fundamental
human rights, including the right to self-determination, continue to be illegally


It is imperative that the Committee on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights highlight Israel’s illegal practices, and take all
possible measures to ensure Israel’s compliance with international law. The
individual member States of the international community, must also immediately
fulfil their obligation to ensure respect for international law vis-a-vis
Israel’s actions in the oPt.


The report submitted by PCHR is available here.