PCHR: No to Repeating Balfour Declaration

14 December 2017 — PCHR

Arab Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions Stress Palestinian Right to Jerusalem is An International Law that Cannot be Given away by Political Measures and Statements

In a flagrant challenge to the international law, on 06 December 2017, the United States President Donald Trump declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and signed an official decree to move the U.S. Embassy to it.

The undersigned Arab Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions believe that the irresponsible statements by the U.S. President would not change the legal status of the City but convict its issuer and make him a criminal at the international level.  Jerusalem has been and will always be an integral part of Land of Palestine based on history, reality, the resolutions adopted by the United Nations and International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the recognition of an overwhelming majority of the world’s States.

This development came as part of the current U.S. Administration’s systematic policy of denying the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and attempting to close down the Palestinian cause.  This policy started with supporting the settlement expansion and practicing huge pressures to deprive the Palestinians of resorting to the International Justice. And finally, it is now practically destroying the efforts for peace and two-state solution.

The U.S. President’s declaration and measures constitute complicity in two international crimes. The first crime is a crime of aggression against the Palestinian State as declaration supports and upholds the annexation of lands using force.  The second crime is a war crime as the decision is considered as complicity in the Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Moreover, Trump’s statements and measures constitute a clear violation of more than 16 resolutions adopted by the Security Council; the most prominent of them are Resolutions No. (476) and (478) adopted in 1980.  The U. S. President’s declaration also violates the General Assembly’s resolutions relevant to the Palestinian right to Jerusalem, including Resolution (303) adopted in 1949 and Resolution (2253) adopted in 1967. Furthermore, in its Advisory Opinion on the Annexation wall in 2004, the ICJ affirms that the territory seized by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, is an occupied territory.  This declaration also violates many resolutions adopted by the UNESCO relevant to the Palestinian right to Jerusalem and its holy places.

The official and popular reaction, which unanimously protested the U.S. President’s decision that undermines the peace process, affirms that the U.S. position is isolated from all the influential world countries, including the Permanent Member States of the Security Council and UN bodies.

The U.S. President’s decision recalls the crime of Balfour Declaration as after 100 years, those who do not own came gain to grant recognition to those who do not deserve in a flagrant violation of the international law and in disregard for the international peace, security and innocents, whose lives would be endangered due to stirring the feelings of millions of Muslims and Christians around the world.

The Arab Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions believe that this decision is an explicit call for imposing the rule of jungle and de facto policy in addition to completely flouting the international law.  This declaration also gives political legitimacy for the Israeli crimes and affects the history, present and future of the Arab and Muslim peoples and their dignity.  Thus, They:

1-      Call upon the Arab States and Muslim world to take decisive steps to force the US President’s administration to reverse the declaration and stop violating the status of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy places;

2-      Call upon the International Criminal Court to list the U.S. President Trump among those accused of committing a settlement activity crime in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the files referred to the ICC regarding the settlement activity crime;

3-      Call upon the Palestinian leadership to stop dealing with the U.S. Administration as a mediator after the latter declared being partners in aggression and occupation.

4-      Call upon the Palestinian leadership as well to  resort to the General Assembly and work with the peace-loving states of the world to use the Special Mechanism of “Union for Peace” to avoid the US Veto in the Security Council; condemn the U.S. declaration, rendering it null and void; and take necessary measures to confront it;

5-      Demand Switzerland, Arab and Islamic States, and European countries, which rejected Trump’s decision, to call for an urgent meeting for the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to condemn the American position and ensure the application of the Geneva Conventions in the occupied territory in 1967, including Jerusalem, and work on obliging the US to abide by these Conventions as the latter is one of the High Contracting Parties;

6-      Praised the European Union’s position that condemns the U.S. decision and call upon it to take serious steps in order to confront this decision, which violates the international law and directly threatens the international peace and security;

7-      Call the American Civil Society and free people of the world to move and pressurize the U.S. President to save the world peace and spare the world a religious war due to the irresponsible behaviors of the U.S. President; and

8-      Call upon all the states, which rejected the U.S. decision, to abstain from participating in any meeting with the U.S. officials in Jerusalem to prevent the decision becoming a fait accompli over time.    

Signatory Arab Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions to this Statement:

1-      Palestinian Bar Association

2-      Arab Organization for Human Rights

3-      Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council

4-      Palestinian Journalists Syndicate

5-      Tunisian Association of Democratic Women

6-      Palestine National Institutes for NGOs

7-      Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights

8-      Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN

9-      Arab NGO Network for Development

10-  Human Rights and Democracy Media Center

11-  Palestinian NGOs Network

12-  Committees for Development and Heritage- France

13-  Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad)

14-  Palestinian Consultative Staff for NGOs Development

15-  Arab Network for Tolerance

16-  Human Rights Information and Training Center

17-  Tammuz Organization for Social Development

18-  Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement

19-  Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession

20-  Filastiniyat Organization

21-  Ein Iraq Elections Monitoring Network

22-  Prof. Rafe’a Bin ‘Ashour, Carthage University, Judge of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights

23-  Palestinian Coalition for Enonmoic and Social Rights

24-   Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon Organization

25-  Arab Organization for Human Rights in Jordan

26-  Emirates Association for Human Rights

27-  Bahrain Human Rights Society

28-  The Tunisian Human Rights League

29-  Algerian League for Human Rights

30-  Sudan Human Rights Monitor

31-  Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria

32-  National Organization for Human Rights in Syria

33-  Iraqi Network for Human Rights Culture and Development

34-  Kuwait Society for Human Rights

35-  Arab Organization for Human Rights in Libya

36-  Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

37-  Moroccan Organization for Human Rights

38-  Moroccan Association for Human Rights

39-  Yemen Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms

40-  Organization of Human Rights in the Arab States – Germany

41-  The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Austria

42-  Arab Organization for Human Rights in Mauritania

43-  Palestinian Human Rights Organization in Lebanon

44-  Human Line Organization in Kuwait

45-  Human Rights and Democracy Studies Center- Morocco

46-  Arab Organization for Human Rights in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

47-  Arab Institute for Human Rights in Tunisia

48-  The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession- Musawa

49-  Muwatin  Institute for Democracy and Human Rights