PCHR Receives French Delegation in Ramallah Office
On Tuesday, 20 April 2010, the
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) received in its office in Ramallah a
delegation from the Paris-based
Samih Muhsen, Coordinator of PCHR’s
Activities in the West Bank, received the CCPPP delegation. Muhsen highly appreciated the CCPPP’s
position and their efforts to defend human rights in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory (OPT). He provided full
explanation of the human rights conditions in the OPT, focusing on the Gaza
Strip. He pointed out that the Gaza
Strip has been under a siege for more than three years and this siege has
continued for 15 months after the end of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza
Strip that killed hundreds of civilians, wounded thousands and left thousands
of families homeless.
Muhsen said that civilians in the
Gaza Strip are deprived of minimal elements of life and that the Israeli
Occupation Forces (IOF) continue to impose a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip,
control border crossings and limit items allowed into the Gaza Strip. He added that IOF continue to ban the
delivery of construction materials to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.
Muhsen further reviewed grave
Israeli violations committed in the West Bank, especially efforts to create a
Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem, settlement expansion, crimes
committed by settlers, the construction of the annexation wall, daily raids on
Palestinian communities, house demolitions, use of excessive force against
peaceful protests, measures of internal siege and closure of occupied Jerusalem
for Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Fahmi Shahin, a PCHR fieldworker,
talked about settlement activities inside Hebron and the daily suffering of
Palestinians in the town, especially in the old town and in the vicinity of
Israeli settlements, caused by crimes committed either by Israeli settlers
themselves or by IOF that provide protection to settlers and participate in
attacks against Palestinian civilians.
Muhsen criticized the European governments, both
individually and collectively, for their silence towards crimes committed by
IOF in the OPT and their support for the Israeli government in its attempts to
evade accountability. In this context, he drew the attention to efforts by
some European government to amend their laws in order to frustrate efforts by
human rights organizations and victims of human rights violations to prosecute
suspected Israeli war criminals under the principle of universal
jurisdiction. He also criticized those governments’ attempts to obstruct
mechanisms of accountability included in the report of the UN Fact-Finding
Mission on Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone
Report). He emphasized that if Israel was not held accountable for its
crimes, there would by no guarantees for the non-recurrence of such crimes.
also emphasized the importance of the role played by European civil society groups
in supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people, and called on them to
make efforts to exert pressure on their governments to fulfill their legal and
moral obligations under international humanitarian law.