Justice center urges the Australian government to oppose Israeli annexation of Palestinian land

The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) today urged its government to oppose Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian land, recommending imposing sanctions if Israel takes this step.

In a 10-page briefing paper on Australia’s international law obligations regarding Israel’s annexation of large parts of the West Bank, ACIJ said the Australian government should respond swiftly to any annexation step taken by Israel.

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“The Australian Government is urged to respond swiftly to a matter of global concern and oppose any violation of fundamental principles of international law, regarding Israel’s imminent annexation of large parts of Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” said Rawan Arraf, Principal Lawyer and Director of the ACIJ.

“Australia can be guided by its response in relation to the situation of the Russian annexation of Crimea. We recommend the implementation of effective measures such as targeted sanctions, and other measures for violations of international law arising from Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise –  policies which have resulted in a situation of de facto annexation of the OPT and which have expressly denied the Palestinian people fundamental human rights guarantees. One such measure Australia is required to adopt, includes a ban on trade with Israel’s illegal settlements,” she said.

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“It is time to effectively challenge the international community’s political and legal failures which have allowed Israel’s occupation and de facto annexation to continue with impunity. These recommendations provide meaningful effective measures to prevent and end these serious violations and grave crimes in Palestine and Israel.”

ACIJ recommended that the Australian government “make an unambiguous public statement, strongly condemning Israel’s de facto annexation of Occupied Palestinian Territory and the proposed imminent annexation of the West Bank, in addition to requesting an immediate cessation of annexation, Israel’s military occupation and the construction of illegal settlements.”

It also recommended the Australian government should “support the investigation and prosecution of international crimes committed as part of the Situation in Palestine at the International Criminal Court,” and take “all necessary effective measures including imposing targeted sanctions, against the Israeli government, for violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and any imminent annexation plans.”

The center recommended that Australia enact legislations banning settlement goods from entering Australia’s marketplace, and preventing Australian companies from operating in or trading with settlements, or contributing to their maintenance and/or expansion.