UN Reports highlights' HRA claims of discriminatory policies that are affecting the Palestinians Arab Minorities in Israel
October 11, 2006
On October 2nd, the UN Human Rights Council published a report based on their investigatory mission to Lebanon and Israel with respect to the impact of the war and its aftermaths. The report was authored by four Special Rapporteurs which mandates relate to different aspects of human rights. In this manuscript, the authors highlights through their investigations that the Arab community did in Israel not receive the same treatment in terms of protection during the war (para. 80) and access to resources which were designated for those citizens that had suffered during the war (para 94). HRA had highlighted this fact in its press releases, weekly review of human rights and in the discussions that were taken place in HRA. In fact, Weekly Review No. 283 was cited as supporting the Special Rapportuers claim that such discrimination was taking place. In the following, I will outline the points that were made in this report (A/HRC/2/7), the reference that were cited and HRA contribution to the factual discourse of the effects of the conflicts on the Arab minorities in Israel.
Predominantly, the UN report engages with violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law during the war. However, with respect to discriminatory policies and procedures that emanates from the two parties, it is highly critical of the way that the Israeli government treats its Arab citizens of Israel in a fashion that violates their human rights and ignores past efforts and initiatives that the international community and past Israeli government have provided. This is reflected in a string of concluding observations from the UN treaty bodies such as the CESCR in 1998 and CERD in 1998. The Committee on the CRC went as far to state that the Israeli state must undertake policies and legislative steps necessary to overcome the discrimination suffered by the Arab minority in Israel. The Israeli state failed to apply these recommendations from the international community to protect their own citizens who are a minority in Israel. Even when their own government, sponsored a commission called the OR Commission to investigate into the discrimination that was institutionalized within the state, the state did not apply these recommendations.
The UN report highlights the disregarding manner and discriminatory policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian Arab minority. It stresses the disregard for the lives of Arab citizens by not providing adequate shelters, installing a warning system or giving warning to Arab citizens in Arabic (para 101). HRA had highlighted this in several of its Weekly Reports. In paragraph 94, the report underlines the fact they heard persistent complaints that affected members of the Palestinians Arab minorities were discriminated with respect to payments of compensation for their damages incurred during the war. In recent Weekly Reports 292 and 293, HRA substantiated this point by publishing an account of discriminatory policies by the state in terms of housing and by the Mercantile bank with regard to the access of loans.
HRA is strongly critical of the persistent and pervasive policies of the Israeli government in disregarding their obligation under international law, their closing their eyes to valuable recommendation made by UN Commissions and ignoring policies that their own state bodies make. All these initiative issued by the above organizations have as their end-goal to improve the lives of all the citizens of Israel. We are happy that the UN has highlighted these policies in various part of the report and has cited HRA as a reliable and relevant source to substantiate their claim.
In conclusion, we want to stress that as seen from the report, discrimination and violation of human rights to the Arab community is a continually presence in Israel. The report highlighted one aspect of this discrimination at a particular time. However, such discrimination whether direct or indirect is a continually daily occurrence that affects all the lives of the Arab community living within Israel.
Therefore, we are pleased that the international community has took note on this occasion but we would hope that they will continue to be vigilante and continue to reports in such a fashion on different issues that affect the Palestinian Arab community. If such alertness is paid for example in publishing these reports, this may put pressure on Israel to desist from such policies that are harmful to the Arab minority living in Israel. We hope that this report will act as a platform so that future discussion will be held.