The United Nations must “review Israel’s status as a law-abiding member of the United Nations”, UN Human Rights Council special investigator Michael Lynk said on October 26.
Lynk spoke at a press conference in New York in advance of his presentation to the Third Committee on October 27 in which he outlined violence and lack of accountability, collective punishment and forcible transfers, and the denial of right to development as the chief violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
He proposed a UN General Assembly resolution that asked the International Court of Justice at The Hague to issue an advisory opinion on whether Israel’s occupation was illegal, as the difference between a legal and an illegal occupation defines the sanction tools that the UN could use against it.
“Now we regard Israel as the lawful occupant of the Palestinian territories, albeit with a range illegal features to it,” Lynk said. “If we now change that from being a lawful occupant to an illegal occupant, that raises the pressure on what the international community would now be obliged to do under its [new] obligation on non-cooperation with Israel in the continuation.”
Such a declaration is unusual, but was done in 1971 when the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that South Africa’s administration of Namibia was illegal, Lynk said.
Should Israel’s occupation be declared unlawful, then the UN could consider making use of the Uniting for Peace resolution, which could give the UN General Assembly the power to sanction Israel. Such a move would isolate Israel internationally by way of forcing it to end its “occupation” of Palestinian territories, Lynk said
“Israel is not North Korea,” in that its economy is dependent on international trade, particularly the US and Europe, Lynk said. This fact can empower the global community to force change, he added.