As we enter into half a century of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, we’re calling on the rest of the world to stop sustaining illegal settlements that continue to destroy a much-persecuted population.
The violations over the last 50 years have been plenty:
- more than 100,000 hectares of Palestinian land has been seized for settlement use, resulting in more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and buildings being destroyed
- nearly 5 million Palestinians face daily restrictions on their movements
- since 1987 over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed
Multibillion-dollar war crimes
Simply put, Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories amount to war crimes - and the multibillion-dollar economy generated through them are a key driving force behind the violations listed above.
That’s why we’re urging states to no longer recognise this illegal situation and take firmer steps to stop financing Israeli settlements.
The settlement economy relies on Palestinian resources such as water, fertile land and minerals, as well as exports of fruits, vegetables, cosmetics, textiles and toys.
These are sent to countries including the UK, USA, Denmark, France and Germany, and many more. We want the countries involved to prevent the import of all goods from illegal settlements, and to stop their businesses from operating in them.
An economy held back
With an unemployment rate that shot up by 15% between 1999 and 2016, the Palestinian economy has been significantly and unfairly hindered by the expansion of settlements and settlement trade.
The World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the UN are all in agreement that the Palestinian economy continues to decline mainly due to Israeli occupation.
A UN report also states that the Palestinian economy could easily double in size while reducing poverty and unemployment if changes were made to Israeli-imposed restrictions on Palestinians. It’s clear that what would benefit Palestinian workers and their families the most is the dismantling of settlements, to allow for the growth of traditional and new Palestinian economic sectors.
Recognising obligations under international law
As a human rights organisation, our focus is for governments to uphold their obligations under international law and ensure they aren’t fuelling violations themselves.
Condemning the situation is no longer enough. Governments worldwide need to recognise their responsibility under international humanitarian law and work harder to ensure that this appallingly unjust situation comes to an end.