The present report, the twelfth submitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1, covers the period from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019. It provides an overview of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and highlights, in particular, the shrinking civic space and the restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. The High Commissioner makes recommendations to the main duty bearers concerned, namely the Government of Israel, the Government of the State of Palestine and the authorities in Gaza.
Submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions S-9/1 and S-12/1, the present report provides an overview of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory between 1 November 2018 and 31 October 2019. In accordance with the above-mentioned resolutions, it details violations of international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, and by Palestinian armed groups, and violations of international human rights law by all three duty bearers, namely the Government of Israel, the Government of the State of Palestine, and the authorities in Gaza.
The information contained in the present report relies mainly on the human rights monitoring activities conducted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It also reflects information from governmental sources, other United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The report should be read in conjunction with other relevant reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.
Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the reporting period was marked by the ongoing shrinking of civic space as the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the authorities in Gaza continued to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Many of those detained for simply expressing their opinion through social media, attending demonstrations or criticizing the authorities reported being ill-treated and, in a number of cases, tortured.
Violence continued at high levels. During the reporting period, the Israeli security forces killed 131 Palestinians,including five women, 21 boys and two girls. Eleven Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinians, including five soldiers, four civilians during hostilities and two settlers, one of whom was a girl. Of the fatalities, 39 occurred in the context of mass demonstrations along the perimeter fence of Israel with Gaza, with continuing concerns about excessive use of force and absence of accountability. In the West Bank, 35 Palestinians were killed, most of whom in the context of clashes, search and arrest operations or in response to attempted or alleged attacks. These developments are examined in greater detail in the report of the High Commissioner on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. There were several brief but significant escalations in hostilities between Palestinian armed groups and Israel in Gaza, one of which represented the most intense escalation since 2014.
In Gaza, the Israeli blockade and closures, which entered its thirteenth year, continued to severely restrict the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, as well as access within Gaza to basic services, electricity, fuel and medical supplies. Amid a faltering reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority continued to apply punitive measures on the population of Gaza by cutting civil service salaries and forcing early retirement. The authorities in Gaza continued to arbitrarily arrest and detain Fatah affiliates and others; numerous reports were made of ill-treatment of detainees. The authorities also handed down 11 death sentences during the reporting period, seven of which by military courts, including against one woman.
In the West Bank, Israel escalated settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions of Palestinian homeowners. The Prime Minister of Israel expressed his intention to annex the Jordan Valley. Levels of settler violence remained high, as the Israeli authorities continued to frequently fail to protect the Palestinian population and, in some cases, accompanied and protected settlers during attacks against Palestinians. These developments are examined in further detail in the report of the High Commissioner on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. Concerns also remained over the detention practices of Israel, particularly against children, human rights defenders and journalists.
- International human rights law and international humanitarian law are applicable in the entirety of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A detailed analysis of the relevant legal obligations is contained in a report of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and remained applicable for the duration of the reporting period.