Joint Communiqué on Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, and The Gaza Strip

May 12, 2021

We, the undersigned Organizations, Trade Unions and Institutions, condemn and reject the expulsions taking place in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood; a Palestinian neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem. These actions are part of the racist and apartheid policies, laws and prosecutorial practices that Palestinians face in Jerusalem and the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We also condemn the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque with worshippers inside and the excessive use of force against them by the Israeli armed forces. Additionally, we condemn any and all acts of aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip, the targeting by lethal force resulting in war crimes, and we emphasize that this will continue as it did in 2014 when the civilians of Gaza paid a heavy price and were subjected to collective punishment by Israel.

The challenges faced by the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah is the same faced by Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Arab neighborhoods within the Green Line, or even the refugee diaspora in the world who are denied the right to return. These challenges are namely: discriminatory policies, racism, displacement and the pursuit of Israel’s superiority and control over the entire territory. East Jerusalem, where Sheikh Jarrah is located, is a part of the occupied Palestinian territory according to international law and should be subject to Palestinian laws and sovereignty. However, Israel is subjecting the population to its military rule and racist laws, including the law it has enacted since 1970. It stipulated, among other laws, that Jews who had lost their property during the 1948 war, following the establishment of Israel, could reclaim it and be compensated for it. On the other hand, Palestinians who had lost their property were deprived of the same right.

According to the international law, and since Jerusalem is an occupied territory, it is subject to the provisions and rules of International Humanitarian Law, which prohibits the forced eviction of the civilian population from the occupied territories and replacing them with settlers by the occupying power. This behavior is a war crime punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Prosecutor of which decided on March 5, 2021, to initiate an investigation into the crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In addition, the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacks against worshippers, including the firing of rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs, and the denial of access to the Red Crescent paramedics, which resulted in hundreds of injuries, constitute grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and the rules of International Humanitarian Law.

Organizations, Trade Unions, Institutions, and Human Rights Bodies who have signed this Communiqué emphasize the following:

- We reject the forced eviction of the Palestinian population in the district of Sheikh Jarrah and all districts of East Jerusalem. We also reject the policy of home demolitions. We consider these acts to be part of the Israeli policy of apartheid, persecution, and seizure of others’ property by force.

- We condemn the break-in of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the use of force against worshippers who performed religious rites, which the International Human Rights Instruments protects.

- We call for an end to Israel’s impunity, to support the course of international prosecution of what is taking place in Jerusalem and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and to support the course of the International Criminal Court in this regard.

- We call upon the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, and UNESCO to take practical steps to provide international protection to the occupied and the Holy City of Jerusalem, to condemn the Israeli fueling of the conflict and its apartheid policies in the region and to take practical and genuine action for accountability and to stop the allowance of impunity.

- We condemn all and any acts of aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip, the targeting by lethal force resulting in war crimes, similar to what happened in the 2014 attacks, in which civilians paid a heavy price and were subjected to collective punishment by Israel.

- We invite jurists, judges and lawyers, community activists, legal and human rights organizations, and institutions around the world to participate in the “International Stand in Solidarity with the Holy City” on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 16:00 (Jerusalem time) 14:00 (London time), to express solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel’s racist and apartheid policies, to call for respect of international law, to stop the displacement in Jerusalem and to ensure accountability. The stands in solidarities will be organized before Bar Associations, Parliaments, Israeli embassies, and United Nations headquarters in all countries around the world.

Signatories (as of May 12, 2021 at 2 pm CEST):

  1. Law for Palestine – UK.
  2. Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ).
  3. The International Organisation for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  4. Union of Arab Jurists.
  5. The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR”.
  6. International-Lawyers.Org.
  7. Faisal Husseini foundation.
  8. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC).
  9. Moroccan Association for human rights.
  10. General Union of Cultural Centers.
  11. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS).
  12. Palestine Institute for National Security Researches.
  13. Southern Independent Group (SIG).
  14. Arab Renaissance for Democracy & Development (ARDD).
  15. Al Haq Organization – Law in the Service of Mankind.
  16. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.
  17. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
  18. DCI – Defense for Children International – Palestine.
  19. Aldameer Association for Human Rights.
  20. Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies.
  21. Hurryyat – Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights.
  22. The Independent Commission for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office).
  23. Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.
  24. Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council.
  25. Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO).
  26. Sareyyet Ramallah.
  27. Developmental action without borders (Naba’a).
  28. ACT Conflict Resolution.
  29. Coalition for Integrity and Accountability- AMAN.
  30. Arab NGO Network for Development.
  31. MUSAWA- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession.
  32. Vegans for BDS.
  33. YWCA of Palestine.
  34. Land Research Center.
  35. Alrowwad cultural and arts society.
  36. Bisan Center for Research and Development.
  37. Tpfs.
  38. Palestinian medical relief society.
  39. MA’AN Development Center.
  40. Health Work Committees.
  41. Jordan Network for Human Rights.
  42. Siwar.
  43. SLIFDH.
  44. Geneva Council for International Affairs and Development (GCIAD).
  45. Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land.
  46. Visit Hebron Palestine.
  47. Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership & Rights Activation.
  48. Financial Sector and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (FAWUSA).
  49. Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction.
  50. SAM Organization Rights and Liberties.
  51. Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA).
  52. Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem (ARIJ).
  53. Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling.
  54. Medialab.
  55. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
  56. The Palestinian Working Women Society for Development (PWWSD).
  57. MENA Rights Group.

Credits: A view of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, David Shankbone, licenced under CC BY 3.0.

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