The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory issued its first report on Tuesday, blaming Israel’s “occupation” for the protracted Arab-Israeli conflict.

Navi Pillay, who chairs the commission, said, “The findings and recommendations relevant to the underlying root causes were overwhelmingly directed towards Israel, which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one state occupying the other.”

The 18-page report also claimed that Israeli actions, such as “forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza” fed “recurring cycles of violence.”

Israel’s failure to implement recommendation of past commissions and U.N. fact-finding bodies “is at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” the report claimed.

Commissioner Miloon Kothari said, “It is only with the ending of occupation that the world can begin to reverse historical injustices and move towards self-determination of the Palestinian peoples.”

Commissioner Chris Sidoti added: “Israel clearly has no intention of ending the occupation. In fact, it has established clear policies to ensure complete permanent control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This includes altering the demography of these territories through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favorable environment for Israeli settlers.”

The report also noted that the Palestinian Authority uses the occupation as a justification for its own human rights violations “and as the core reason for its failure to hold legislative and presidential elections,” according to a U.N. press statement. Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, has “shown little commitment to upholding human rights, and no adherence to international humanitarian law,” according to the report.

The Commission of Inquiry was established by the Human Rights Council on May 27, 2021 in the wake of Israel’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls.” It’s mandate is to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human-rights law leading up to and since” April 13, 2021 in Israel and areas it designates as occupied by Israel.

The COI will present its report to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council on June 13, 2022.


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