للغة العربية اضغط/ي هنا

The decision of the Israel Government to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territory after the 1 July, which was endorsed by the American “Deal of the Century” is a significant violation of International law and must be unequivocally opposed and stopped by the international community and by individuals and groups around the world.

Occupation, Colonial Policies and the Gendered Impact of Land Theft and Violence

This annexation is another episode in a systematic settler colonial policy that is built on violating the rights of the Palestinian people through maintaining an apartheid system that establishes land theft and violence. The Israeli policies that victimise and discriminate against the Palestinian people have a clear gendered impact as they isolate Palestinian women, impoverish them, limit their rights and freedoms and inhibit their participation in the public political, cultural, social and economic spheres. The Annexation has huge effects on women’s legal, social, educational, economic and political status, as well as their priorities, access to services especially for girls and women victims of gender-based violence, and their available options for resistance.

The annexation will further divide Palestinian lands and communities and push them into small isolated enclaves, completely separated by Israel and with no territorial connection to the outside world. It will further impact their access to resources and essential services like education and health and increase social and economic inequalities that perpetuate vulnerabilities and disadvantaged women. The expansion and the movement restriction will also disproportionately worsen the access to healthcare for women especially those pregnant or suffering from a chronic disease and deny GBV survivors access to psychological support and services.

The annexation will also replicate the two-tier system of legal discrimination that is currently in place in Jerusalem and inside Israel. This system institutionalises discrimination between citizens within a single territory, normalises injustice and inevitably increases grievances and violence and inhibits any possibility of just, equitable and lasting peace.

Settlers’ Violence

The expansion of settlements has always been accompanied by settlers’ violence and vandalism, in response to which, the Israeli police often will charge a Palestinian with provocation and abusing settlers, whilst settlers remain immune to prosecution. The complicity of the Israeli military and police and their role in sustaining settlers’ impunity play a central role in exacerbating the illegal acts against the Palestinian civilian population including women.

Settlers’ violence leave Palestinian women in fear of leaving their house alone as they could be a target of attacks. Soldier and settler violence, vandalism, and destruction of private property, including housing demolition, overburden women with increased financial and care responsibilities as well as a constant fear of losing their children for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The annexation plan will, therefore, add further layers to the already-existing multi-layered structural discrimination against women. This will highly affect women’s positions and statuses in the society. Palestinian women suffer from unequal power dynamics and structures, and these will be topped up by other compounded layers of restrictions and limitations that would further isolate and marginalize them.

The Cost of Resistance

The Palestinian people have been left alone to resist racist settler colonial strategies that continue to be tolerated and go unchallenged by the international community. Their peaceful resistance comes at a very high cost that could be their lives, their houses and their freedom. They are denied the right to defend themselves and their land, their safety is compromised as a threat to Israel’s right to security, their right to peaceful protest has been penalised with targeted killing and reprisal against entire families and communities. The efforts to peacefully isolate Israel culturally and economically have been sanctioned and criminalised, and their attempts to oppose the annexation plan have been labelled as “rejectionism” in a trend to deny them the right to choose, to resist and to speak for themselves.

It is time for all of us to raise our voices in support of the Palestinian people, to oppose a racist colonial system that should have no place in this day and age.

We call on people everywhere to take up the fight against settler colonial policies as a fight for feminist peace, one that is tightly connected to the liberation of women from patriarchy and violence. We need to combat a trend of tolerance to Israeli violations of international law and the culture of unchallenged impunity enjoyed by perpetrators who should be brought to justice among those who are supporting them to continue the violations including individuals, corporations and lobbies.

People around the world must use their voices, their vote and their spaces to ensure that their governments go beyond condemnation and non-recognition of Annexation into taking concrete actions.

Here is what you can do:

A- Fight impunity and hold perpetrators accountable

Israel continues to hold the responsibility of the occupying power towards the Palestinian population under international humanitarian and human rights law as they have an effective control over all the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory. The Annexation will further perpetuate the serious existing human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

States must send a clear message to Israel as an occupying power, that their acts of terror and systematic violations of international law as well as settler colonial policies will have consequences, that the ongoing impunity will no longer be tolerated and that there is no place for Apartheid in our global order.

Accountability should combine economic sanctions, criminal investigation and compensation and remedy for victims.

Economic sanctions through the European Union should be imposed, including incremental restrictive measures, ban on arms trade, restrictions on individuals and companies involved in the settlements, and suspension of all security cooperation and free trade agreements with Israel. Business enterprises have a huge role in the expansion of illegal settlement and make a serious profit from it, this should be deterred and punished.

Criminal investigations of human rights violations should be initiated by states both through their national jurisdictions and internationally, this includes supporting the International Criminal Court investigation into Israeli war crimes and grave breaches of international law as well as other multilateral mechanisms. Such investigations must aim to prosecute perpetrators, remedy victims and should take a gender-sensitive and victim-centred approach, with the aim of restitution and ensuring remedies and compensations. The Security Council Resolution 2334 and the 2004 advisory opinion of International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israeli settlements, the need to dismantle them, to deconstruct the separation wall, and to compensate Palestinians for violations are good basis for such legal actions.

States and individuals must boycott products and services from the illegal Israeli settlements and should continue to support efforts by the UN to improve its database of companies involved in the settlement business.

B-  Mobilise to challenge a false narrative 

Israel will continue to shield illegal practices by spreading false narratives to erase a history of ethnic cleansing, human rights abuse and land theft. We must stand firmly with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and self-determination and oppose a narrative that dehumanises them, delegitimises their struggle for freedom and reduces them to a mere security threat to Israel.

This unilateral annexation plan is an existential threat to the Palestinians. We should use the spaces available to us to call for an end to the Israeli occupation and the full recognition of the state of Palestine on the 1967 lines with a capital in East Jerusalem. We must also make these spaces available to Palestinians to speak instead of being spoken about, to bring their experiences and demands to every local, national and international fora. The voices of Palestinian women are particularly needed to promote an intersectional analysis of the cause and a gendered strategy to continue the struggle.

Finally, we must oppose efforts to silence Palestinian activists and their allies and stigmatise their peaceful work and freedom of expression.