Joint call to the Greek authorities to end trade with the illegal Israeli settlements
As we mark Israel’s 50th year of occupation of the Palestinian Territory this year, Israel continues to violate international law and Palestinian human rights without accountability. Over the past five decades, Israel has established and expanded settlements and has transferred more than 600,000 of its own civilian population to the occupied territory. These settlements are a serious violation of article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and constitute a war crime according to the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, which Greece is a party to and aims to implementunder the international law. Israeli settlements and their related infrastructure are recognized as illegal by all major UN bodies, such as the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, as well as the International Court of Justice.
Apart from the issue of violation of international humanitarian law, major human rights organizations, as well as UN bodies have documented and reported on settlements’ role in direct mass human rights violations of Palestinians, including, attacks on persons and properties, home demolitions, confiscation of land and houses, creating obstacles to the freedom of movement even inside the same city, including by dividing Palestinian cities, such as Hebron
The violations entailed by Israel raise specific responsibilities for Israel, but also implicate third state responsibilities, including the obligation not to recognize an illegal situation created by violations of peremptory norms of international law (jus cogens), nor to assist or render aid in maintaining the illegal situation, and to actively co-operate to bring to an end the illegal situation that results from violations.
The obligation not to recognize as lawful the illegal situation prohibits not only explicit recognition, but extends also to actions that would imply recognition. By allowing settlement goods, which sustain settlements, into their markets, third states may be conferring implicit recognition on the illegal creation of the settlements from which these goods originate. These states are also providing assistance to the illegal settlement project and are contributing to the maintenance of the settlement economy, which helps finance the continued existence and expansion of illegal settlements. States are under an obligation to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions and ensure that they do not recognize as lawful the illegal situation of settlements, nor render them assistance including the means to sustain themselves.
As it has been documented, inter alia, through responses of ministries to questions in the Parliament, there are some products from settlements imported to Greece.
The undersigned organizations call on the Greek authorities, through laws and regulations, to ban import of settlement goods to their market and prevent companies domiciled in their territory from operating in settlements or trading in settlement products. Such a prohibition would be consistent with fulfilling Greece’s obligation to not recognise and not to aid or assist an illegal situation and to co-operate with other states through lawful means to bring to an end Israel’s serious breaches of international law.
Hellenic League for Human Rights