Al-Mezan Center welcomes the Government of Switzerland’s invitation of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War of August 12, 1949 to reconvene their conference in order to discuss ways for the implementation of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1967.
The invitation to reconvene the conference comes as the Israeli belligerent occupation forces continue their violations to the Convention provisions, and in harmony with the statement of the High Contracting Parties conference in Geneva on July 15,1999, which was convened for the first time in the history of the Convention to discuss the ways to implement the Convention in specific territories, the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
It was very disappointing that it adjourned after fifteen minutes and ended with the following brief statement: “Taking into consideration the improved atmosphere in the Middle East as a whole, the Conference was adjourned on the understanding that it will convene again in the light of the consultations on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field.
” The recent invitation to convene the conference comes, again, under an unprecedented deterioration of human rights situation and under the Israeli occupation forces escalation of its systematic grave breaches to the Convention, particularly willful killing, torture, collective punishment, willful destruction of property, confiscating land and population transfer (settlement), destruction of houses…etc.
This invitation to convene the conference reflects a large international interest in what Palestinian civilians are exposed to and affirms that the Israeli belligerent forces are perpetrating crimes.
However, Israel and the United States announced that they are going to boycott the conference.
The US boycott of the conference and its hectic endeavor to impede it for the second time, and its recede from the UN Conference Against Racism in South Africa proves the American administration’s full bias in favor of the aggressor and its denial to the rules of the international law and justice.
Since the beginning of the current Intifada in September 2000, Al-Mezan Center, like many other human rights organizations, has called the international community many times, based on information collected and documented about the grave breaches to the Fourth Geneva Convention perpetrated by the Israeli belligerent occupation forces, to interfere and put an end to these crimes, and provide Palestinian civilians with protection through convening a serious conference for the High Contracting Parties to the Convention.
The center considers the invitation to the meeting a significant development and demands that it should focus on finding the suitable ways to implement the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The center also demands that the High Contracting Parties should reinstate the Convention’s in regard to justice and redress for victims, and to the provisions of the international humanitarian law, which has been subject to political interests and negligence.
Al-Mezan Center calls the High Contracting Parties to: Fulfill their legal obligations in accordance with the Convention, and to utilize every possible way to enforce Israel to respect the Convention’s provisions and implement it in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Respect the international humanitarian law and not to be attracted to political interests that would add to the suffering of Palestinian civilians, and to encourage the Israeli belligerent forces to continue their aggression and crimes.
Facts on the ground proved that sacrificing human rights for any reason would not achieve peace or security, but would constitute a real threat to the international peace and security.
Provide Palestinian civilians with international protection in the light of the continuous Israeli belligerent forces aggression against them and their property.