The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) strongly denounce the declaration made last weekend by the US president, Donald Trump, in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation state and his decision to transfer the US Embassy there. The Federation views this move as a direct breach of the rules of international law and all legal decisions regarding the city of Jerusalem as an occupied city to which the Geneva Conventions apply.
The Arab Federation for Human Rights also considers that this decision is a flagrant violation of international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law and undermines the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination over all of its territory. It is a direct involvement in the crime of aggression and directly threatens international peace and security throughout the region, as it fuels the religious sentiments of Muslims and Christians around the world, not only in Palestine, and is clearly reflected in the international reaction to the resolution.
The determination to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital also constitutes a violation of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the annexation of the territory of others by use of force. AFHR asserts that it is one of the foundations for the intervention of the UN Security Council under Chapter VII Of the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security and one of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, although its definition has not yet entered into force.
The American decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying state is a recognition of “settlement” as one of the war crimes stipulated in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and in Article 8, paragraph 8 of the Rome Statute established by the International Criminal Court.
The Arab Federation for Human Rights affirms that the legal status of Jerusalem as part of the occupied land of Palestine is based on international law, which is not changed by political decisions or procedures, based on the resolutions of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. The State of Palestine had occupied the land since 1967, which includes Jerusalem.
The Security Council issued 12 resolutions asserting that Jerusalem is an occupied territory by the Israeli occupation authorities, eight (8) of which stipulate that all procedures or changes in the legal status of the city and the necessity of withdrawing Israeli forces from them are illegal. The other four demands that Israel withdraw from the occupied territory since 1967, including Jerusalem, the first of which was Security Council Resolution 242.
The General Assembly also issued several resolutions stressing the absence of any right to Israel in the city of Jerusalem, and that it is an occupying force. The first was resolution 303 (1949), which confirms the condemnation of the General Assembly by Israel’s declaration of Jerusalem as its capital. Including Resolution No. (2253) of 1967 of the General Assembly, which affirms its refusal to apply Israeli law in East Jerusalem. And also Resolution No. (1536) of 1981, which considers any change in the status of the city of Jerusalem illegal.
In its Advisory Opinion on the Apartheid Wall of 2004, the International Court of Justice asserts that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, are occupied territory under international law, and on this basis its decision affirms the illegality of the route of the Wall as cutting off parts of Palestinian land.
The UNESCO issued several resolutions concerning the status of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the most recent of which was in 2016, which recognized that the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its sanctuary are a pure Islamic heritage, including the Mughrabi Wall (the Wailing Wall). The resolution also condemned all violations and alterations made by the Israeli occupying state on the archaeological sites there, considering the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its sanctuary as an internationally protected human heritage.
The Arab Federation for Human Rights believes that the US president’s decision weakens international law and the United Nations, and sets a dangerous precedent for a state to bypass the resolutions of the UN Security Council and international law. This equally undermines all the efforts put forth since the end of the Second World War to replace the occupation of a territory by law rather than by the use of force, in which the world has made a long and important journey. This has had much of the credit for preventing a third world war and it is the most important instrument of the United Nations in its promotion for respect of international law, including international humanitarian law .
The Arab Federation for Human Rights also believes that this decision affects the status of the United States of America as a mediator in the Middle East peace process. It calls upon the international community, the international mechanisms and all the free world to exert pressure on the American president to back down from this decision in order to save world peace and spare the world a religious war because of this irresponsible decision.
Arab Federation for Human Rights
Geneva, December 10th 2017