Amnesty accuses Israel of international human rights law violations

Israel has been criticised by human rights group Amnesty International for its “blatant violation of international law” in the West Bank.

In a report published to mark the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War on 5 June, Amnesty International claims Israel’s 220-mile security wall, much of which is on Palestinian land, is in defiance of a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

The charity states that it takes no sides over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the occupation itself, but is calling for an end to human rights violations that, it says, stem from policies that entrench the occupation through illegal and discriminatory measures.

It is also calling on Palestinian armed groups to end their targeting of Israeli civilians, both in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Amnesty UK director Kate Allen said: “Israel’s quite legitimate security concerns are no excuse for blatant violations of international law, nor the mistreatment of thousands of Palestinians in a massive programme of collective punishment.”

The charity’s 47-page report, entitled ‘Enduring occupation: Palestinians under siege in the West Bank’, also criticises several hundred checkpoints along the security wall for cutting into Palestinian territory rather than protecting the Israeli border itself.

The report calls for the wall to be dismantled where it is built on Palestinian land to correspond with international law, which includes a 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, and for farmers and others to be compensated for loss of land and livelihood.

The wall is currently around 220 miles long and Israel plans to extend it for a further 450 miles. Eighty per cent of the wall is built on Palestinian land, and when it is completed it will enclose an area amounting to 10 per cent of the West Bank, in which 60,000 Palestinians live.

The charity is also calling for an international human rights monitoring mechanism to check Israeli and Palestinian compliance with international law, and for it to be backed up with a commitment to prosecute those who commit crimes under international law.