UN experts denounce Israeli housing policies in occupied East Jerusalem as racist
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: 28 April 2022
UN experts stressed that Israeli housing policies in East Jerusalem amount to apartheid and discrimination against the Palestinian people, and a violation of their human rights.
Racial zoning systems
The experts said that Palestinians in Gaza were subjected to discriminatory planning and zoning regimes. They have restricted access to housing, safe drinking water, sanitation, and other basic services, including health care and educational facilities.
“The discriminatory zoning and planning regime in East Jerusalem, which prioritises zoning for Israeli settlements and limits housing options for Palestinians, clearly amounts to segregation on the basis of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin,” the experts said.
“Racially segregated settlements have had significant and lasting consequences on the standards of living of the Palestinian people,” they stressed, calling attention to the detrimental effect of the measures on Palestinians and Bedouin communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
A report to the Human Rights Council, issued in March, said that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, which lasted for 55 years, constitutes apartheid.
The experts echoed the report’s findings, urging the Israeli government to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Violence by the Israeli security forces:
The experts also expressed concern about reports that Palestinian protests against the establishment of the Eviatar outpost and Israel’s exclusive control over the distribution of public spaces and basic resources have allegedly been met with disproportionate violence and systematic suppression by the Israeli army.
The experts stated that they had received reports that demonstrators were subjected to indiscriminate and excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest, torture and collective punishment, and that at least six Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli security forces or settlers while protesting against the establishment of the settlement.
The experts urged the international community to conduct independent investigations into the conduct of military operations and law enforcement operations, in order to end impunity for the continuing occupying power for the excessive use of force against Palestinians in the context of protests, searches, arrests and at checkpoints, stressing that peaceful gatherings must be dispersed only in exceptional cases, subject to strict requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality.