In its capacity as a member State of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on behalf of the State of Palestine has lodged an interstate complaint against Israel, the occupying Power, which is another member State of the Convention. The State of Palestine has undertaken this step in line with its duty to protect its citizens from discrimination and other practices and policies that violate CERD obligations. As a State Party of CERD, Palestine is duty bound towards its citizens to protect and safeguard their rights from abuse, domestically and otherwise.
The State of Palestine exercises this right, inherent in its status as a member of CERD, given the urgency of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as the blatant and systematic violations by Israel, the occupying power, of CERD. These policies have been in place since the onset of the occupation of the Palestinian Territory in 1967 and have recently escalated to unprecedented levels. They have a direct and negative impact on the lives and basic rights of the Palestinian people.
Palestine is a State whose territory remains under a belligerent colonial occupation. For its part, Israel, the occupying Power, has maintained its colonial occupation over the past fifty years by imposing racist and discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens. Confronting this pervasive reality of racism and discrimination is a priority. This cannot wait. It should not. No person or people should be asked to tolerate racism or the violence and injustice it breeds.
The State of Palestine reaffirms its belief in and commitment to the international legal system, and the pacific resolution of conflicts. The State of Palestine will continue to use all available legal and diplomatic tools to advance our people’s right to self-determination, freedom and a life of dignity, free from oppression and racism.
It is the Palestinian leadership’s obligation to protect the rights and lives of our people from violence, discrimination, racism, and other forms of violations of international law. In this regard, the State of Palestine’s complaint is an act of necessary self-defense.
The rights of the Palestinian people to dignity, life, and freedom are natural rights. We will not allow anyone to consider our people’s lives and dignity as fair game. They are not.
Palestine has now undertaken a positive and proactive measure that puts the world on notice. We are the litmus test. It is time for the international community to prove its seriousness about the international order and commitment to the laws it has adopted over the decades to maintain peace and security and ensure universal respect for human rights, including the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.