The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met on March 18 to investigate the human rights situation in Palestine and issued a report which focused on the impact of the occupation on the environment, natural resources, the ongoing use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza, and the near humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.
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The UNHRC points out that people living under occupation should be able to enjoy the full panoply of human rights provided by international law.
Michael Lynk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories said that “for nearly five million Palestinians living under occupation, the degradation of their water supply, the exploitation of their natural resources and the defacing of their environment, are symptomatic of the lack of any meaningful control they have over their daily lives."
About Israel, he reported that “its approach to the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been to use them as a sovereign country would use its own assets, with vastly discriminatory consequences.”
“With the collapse of natural sources of drinking water in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to access most of their water sources in the West Bank, water has become a potent symbol for the systematic violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the Special Rapporteur continued.
“As of 2017, more than 96% of Gaza’s coastal aquifer – the main source of water for residents of Gaza – has become unfit for human consumption. The reasons include over-extraction because of Gaza’s extremely dense population, contamination with sewage and seawater, Israel’s 12-year old blockade, and asymmetrical wars which has left Gaza’s infrastructure severely crippled and with a near-constant electricity shortage."
According to UNHRC, since March 30, 2018, "Israeli Security Forces (ISF) killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither participating directly in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat to life. Among those shot were children, paramedics, journalists, and persons with disabilities. 183 people were shot dead, another 6,106 were wounded with live ammunition."
Palestinian Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said, “Israel must stop this pillaging, what Israel is doing in the occupied territories is very far from its obligations under international law and treaties.” “This is more even than apartheid,” he added.