On 29 – 30 October 2019, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) participated in a conference titled: “Israel’s Collective Punishment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): Escalated Measures, Impacts, Legal and Advocacy Frameworks,” via video conference. The conference was organized by the Community Action Center – Al-Quds University, and attended by Amnesty International, Al-Haq, Addameer, PCHR, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, as well as the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the oPt, Mr. Michael Lynk.
Dr. Fadel al-Muzaini, PCHR Economic and Social Rights researcher, presented a research paper titled: “13 Years of the Israeli-Imposed Closure on the Gaza Strip: Deterioration of Humanitarian Conditions and Continued Collective Punishment Policy.” The research paper addressed the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip and its disastrous consequences on the entire Gaza Strip population, highlighting its illegal nature and contradiction with Israel’s legal obligations as an occupying power and a member of international human rights treaties. Dr. al-Muzaini emphasized that Israeli claims of loosening the closure are in reality systematic measures for its institutionalization, and legitimization by the international community while Israel maintains control over the Gaza Strip, and its isolation from the outside world on social, economic and cultural scales.
Al-Muzaini presented the research’s key conclusions mainly that the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza strip is a form of collective punishment, prohibited under international law. Regardless of Israeli justifications for enacting this policy, it remains a violation of international law that prohibits collective punishment or vengeful actions against protected persons. He concluded his presentation with a call for removing the imposed restrictions on the freedom of movement for persons and goods and opening all border crossings; and for the international community to act immediately and assiduously to oblige Israel to adhere to international law and to end its practice of collective punishment against protected persons.
It should be noted that the conference highlights the most prominent challenges for Palestinians and exposes their suffering due to the Israeli occupation practices, including collective punishment and settlement expansion activities that intend to uproot and displace Palestinians from their homeland and to weaken their resilience, by rigging their history and their cultural legacy.