Despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s best efforts to bring Israel and the Palestinians together at the negotiating table and Israel’s support for continued peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has once again broken his word to Israel and the United States. In addition to rejecting the basic premise of “two states for two peoples,” and instead of meeting with the Secretary to move forward towards peace, Abbas chose to pursue unilateral recognition by signing onto 15 international conventions and treaties.
Revealed here for the first time in a TheTower.org special report: The Palestinians are in clear violation of at least 11 of the 15 treaties they just signed. What follows is a synopsis of the treaties signed and key facts on the ways in which Palestinian leaders are in violation of the their obligations.
The Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the First Additional Protocol
What They Mean: The Four Geneva Conventions establish rules to regulate conduct during armed conflicts. The first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war. The second protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war. The third outlines appropriate conduct for dealing with prisoners of war, and the fourth affords protection to civilians during wartime.
Palestinian Violations: Hamas, a party which controls the Palestinian Authority legislature and governs territory claimed as part of the “State of Palestine,” routinely violates the Geneva Conventions. It exploits schools, mosques, hospitals and cultural centers to carry out attacks that violate Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. During the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit, Hamas violated the Third Geneva Convention, including the right to unfettered Red Cross access. Hamas also frequently uses human shields, a practice that violates Article 51(7) of the First Protocol of the Geneva Convention. Acts of “terrorism” are explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, as are “acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population.”
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
What It Means: The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations forms the basis of diplomatic immunity and lays out the rules for foreign diplomats operating in a host country. However, the Convention lays out that diplomatic immunity is not without its caveats. Article 41 of the Convention states that “it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.”
Palestinian Violations: Czech police found explosives, assault rifles, and handguns at the Palestinian mission in Prague. Diplomats are subject to local laws and regulations on arms, which require licensing and registration. The weapons were not registered in the Czech Republic, a black-letter violation of the Vienna Convention.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
What They Mean: The Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for anyone under the age of 18. This includes freedom from economic exploitation (enumerated in Article 32) and the right to education (enumerated in Article 28). The Optional Protocol to the Convention mandates that states not recruit children under 18 for positions in their armed forces, and establish appropriate safeguards to prevent children from joining.
Palestinian Violations: Children’s rights are violated across territories claimed as the “State of Palestine.” Save the Children reports that under the rule of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian children are “denied their rights to freedom of movement, education, health and an adequate standard of living,” all of which are rights guaranteed by the CRC. Notably, a 2012 US Department of Labor report found that “the Palestinian Authority…made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor…Children continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor in dangerous activities in agriculture and on the streets.” Hamas has long trained children for military combat and terror operations, and plans to establish a “military academy” to train to children as young as 12 to fight the Jews and destroy Israel. Last year, reports surfaced indicating that Hamas has trained at least 37,000 children ages 15-17 in urban warfare.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
What It Means: CEDAW requires all signatories to commit themselves to undertaking measures to end discrimination against women in all forms. This includes a mandate to “incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women”, “to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination”, and “to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.”
Palestinian Violations: Violence against women (domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.) is rampant in the Palestinian territories. Offenders are treated with impunity. In 2013, honor killings in the West Bank and Gaza doubled. Palestinian women have no divorce rights. Strict Islamic laws codify inequality and restrict freedom in all aspects of life for Palestinian women.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
What It Means: The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities exists to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”
Palestinian Violations: Multiple laws in the Palestinian Territories discriminate against persons with disabilities. For example, Article 29, section 1 of the 2007 Elections Law states that “An individual shall be deprived of the electoral right if he/she…was declared incapacitated by a final judicial ruling.” The Palestinians have not implemented the Palestinian Disability Law yet, which was ratified in 1999. There are few procedures or policies in place for recognizing the human rights of disabled persons, inadequate access to many municipal services, and virtually no government oversight.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
What It Means: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination defines racial discrimination as meaning “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” It also clarifies that “This Convention shall not apply to distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences made by a State Party to this Convention between citizens and non-citizens.” It mandates that states not sponsor, defend, or support racial discrimination, that states pursue all means necessary to eliminate racial discrimination and promote understanding between all races, that states condemn “all propaganda and all organizations which… attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form.”
Palestinian Violations: Under to Palestinian law, selling property to Jews is punishable by Death. Abbas, Haniyeh, and other senior Palestinian officials have been heavily involved in anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish incitement for decades. Such incitement, including praise for Nazis and Hitler, is regularly spewed forth by senior Palestinian officials, on official PA websites, in PA-sponsored media outlets, and in the Palestinian educational system. Palestinian textbooks, approved by the government, explicitly delegitimize and demonize Israel, and call for violence against Israelis. The poisonous anti-Israeli atmosphere fosters actual violence against Israelis. Beyond incitement, involvement at the highest levels could well mean that Palestinian leaders are also guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
What It Means: The treaty defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person…” It mandates that each party to the treaty take action to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
Palestinian Violations: A February 2014 report by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights details numerous cases of torture and mistreatment in PA and Hamas prisons. In particular, the number of torture cases in prisons belonging to the PA’s Preventative Security Service has skyrocketed.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption
What It Means: The UN Convention against Corruption requires signatories to use all available legal means at their disposal to prevent corruption, requires the establishment of criminal and other offenses to cover a wide range of corrupt acts and practices, and requires international cooperation to fight against corruption.
Palestinian Violations: The Palestinian political system has long been defined by endemic corruption. Billions in aid sent to the Palestinian territories by Western nations have been squandered and diverted. Even the European Union, a large financial supporter of the Palestinian Authority, has publicly accused the PA of mass corruption and mismanagement, claiming that they squandered close to $2 billion in European aid.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
What It Means: The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as “a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part”. The Convention (Articles 2 and 3) codifies what acts can be prosecuted as genocidal as: “(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”. It also lists what acts are punishable as genocide: “(a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide”.
Palestinian Violations: Abbas, Haniyeh, and other senior Palestinian officials have been heavily involved in anti-Israeli incitement for quite some time. Anti-Israel propaganda is distributed by senior Palestinian officials, on official PA websites, in PA-sponsored media outlets and in their educational system. Studies have shown that Palestinian textbooks, approved by the government, explicitly delegitimize and demonize Israel, and call for violence against Israelis. The poisonous anti-Israeli atmosphere that Palestinian leaders have worked so hard to cultivate has fostered and encouraged acts of hatred and violence against Israelis. Beyond incitement, involvement at the highest levels could well mean that Palestinian leaders are also guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide.
The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
What It Means: The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid was created to define and outlaw apartheid as a crime against humanity. The Convention says that “inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of racial segregation or discrimination” are international crimes. The Convention enumerates what it defines to be an act of apartheid, including “legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields”.
Palestinian Violations: Palestinian law bars Palestinians from selling their homes or properties to Jews. If they do so, they will be charged and face the death penalty.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
What It Means: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights lays out the mandatory actions that parties to the Covenant must take to ensure freedom and dignity in the civil and political spheres. This includes equal rights for men and women, an inherent right to life, “any propaganda for war” and “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”. It also stipulates that marriage must be between adults of a marriageable age and that “no marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”
Palestinian Violations: Incitement and propaganda for war are regular features of Palestinian propaganda, and institutionalized gender inequality also puts the Palestinians in violation of the treaty. Forced child marriages are still prevalent in Gaza. The number of young women slaughtered by their own families in so-called “honor killings” spiked in the Palestinian Territories in 2013.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
What It Means: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights guarantees that parties to the treaty will respect the right to individual self-determination as well as the right to freely pursue economic, social and cultural development. This includes the right to make a living, gender equality, and safe and healthy working conditions.
Palestinian Violations: The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights reported that Palestinians in the West Bank have had their assets unlawfully seized by PA security forces. Freedom of expression, media, and assembly are also under assault. Strict Islamic laws codify inequality and restrict freedom in all aspects of life for Palestinian women. A 2012 report from the US Department of Labor found that “the Palestinian Authority…made minimal advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor…Children continue to engage in the worst forms of child labor in dangerous activities in agriculture and on the streets.”
[Photo: PressTV / YouTube]