Gaza City, 3 March 2019—Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has held a workshop to address the repercussions of Israel’s latest decision to enact a law providing for the withholding of Palestinian tax revenue. Lawyers, legal experts, and representative of human rights and detainee affairs organizations participated in the workshop, and joined discussion of a legal reading Al Mezan had prepared on the law. As of 17 February 2019, the Israeli cabinet has enacted a law, which was passed in July 2018, allowing Israel to withhold an amount of Palestinian tax revenue equal to that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and to their families. As per the Paris Protocol of 1994, Israel has been collecting taxes on behalf of the PA and now withholds $138m in tax revenue as provided by the new law.
Mrs. Mervat Al-Nahhal, Al Mezan’s legal aid unit coordinator, inaugurated the workshop by welcoming participants and briefing them on the context of Israel’s new law as well as on its impact on the situation of Palestinians’ human rights, especially of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Mr. Issam Younis, Al Mezan’s director-general, spoke about the need to refer to international mechanism to seek accountability, and he discussed provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 that serve as a framework to guide human rights assessments in the occupied Palestinian territory. Mr. Younis further noted the moral and legal role that must be played by the international community towards ensuring Israel as the Occupying Power complies with international law.
Mr. Samir Al-Mana’ama, lawyer within Al Mezan’s legal aid unit, elaborated on Al Mezan’s legal reading through highlighting different parts of the Israeli law: its objectives, enforcement agents, criteria for applicability, geographical areas of enforcement, and its violation of established international treaties such as the Paris Protocol of 1994, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969, and the UN General Assembly Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States of 1981. Mr. Al-Mana’ama concluded with a review of the findings and recommendations set forth in Al Mezan’s legal reading.
Participants in the discussion emphasized the serious consequences of the law. The participants endorsed the recommendations of Al Mezan’s legal reading and iterated the need to secure national unity and international support in demanding annulment of Israel’s law as well as in defending human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.