UNICEF: Do Not Cover Up Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Children’s Rights
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is shocked and greatly concerned that UNICEF as well as one Palestinian and several international academics intend to participate in a conference organised by the Minerva Centre for Human Rights at the
At a time when the international movement to boycott Israeli academic and cultural institutions is gaining ground in response to Israel’s flagrant and persistent infringement of Palestinian human and political rights, we urge UNICEF and others scheduled to participate in this conference to reflect upon the implication of their accepting an invitation to take part in a conference sponsored by some of those complicit institutions. As was the case in the academic boycott against South Africa‘s complicit universities during apartheid, we believe that participation in academic conferences or similar events in
The conference organizers claim that the primary purpose of the meeting is to draw attention to the suffering of children in the region as well as ‘to bring Israeli and Palestinian researchers, security personnel, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss approaches to prevent harm to children and families on both sides of a conflict’ . In essence, this conference establishes a false symmetry between the Palestinians under occupation and the Israeli occupiers and totally ignores the vastly divergent contexts in which children’s lives are embedded. The conference omits, in fact covers up, the fundamental source of the vulnerability and suffering of all children in this "conflict" zone: Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land and multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people. By inviting Israeli "security personnel" -- the very same people who devise and execute policies that indiscriminately target Palestinian civilians, killing and maiming hundreds of children, as was done in the Gaza massacre -- this conference not only gives them a credible and ‘respectable’ voice, but goes further than most in attempting to whitewash Israel‘s atrocities in Gaza, its accelerating colonization of the West Bank and its gradual ethnic cleansing of entire Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev).
The context that this conference fails to take into account includes more than six decades of a colonial and apartheid regime imposed on the people of
In the latest Israeli war of aggression on the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian civilians were massacred by
We also ask UNICEF and the international participants to consider the symbolism of the venue of this conference. The
The basis for the illegality of the
Furthermore, by moving Israelis (staff and students) to work and live on occupied Palestinian land, the Hebrew University, like all Israeli colonial settlements illegally established on occupied territory, is gravely violating the Fourth Geneva Convention‘s explicit prohibition in this regard.
Israeli academic institutions, including the
‘Israeli universities have adopted this consensus [the legitimacy of the Israeli army actions] by accepting into their ranks former members of the Israeli security services, without regard for the problematic aspects of their possible actions in past positions….. Carmi Gilon’s past as Director of the General Security Services, an organization especially notorious for torture and human rights abuses of Palestinians, and who is accused by various organizations of committing war crimes, did not cause Hebrew University to reconsider appointing him to the post of Vice-President for External Affairs. These appointments of former high-ranking officers in the Israeli security services would seem very natural in the Israeli mainstream context, where they enjoy a great deal of prestige …..’ .
The Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (
In conclusion, we sincerely hope that, until Israel fully abides by international law, United Nations agencies and international academics will not participate in endorsing -- even if inadvertently -- Israel’s violations of international law and basic human rights and shall treat it exactly as most of the world treated racist South Africa, or indeed any other state that legislates and practices apartheid: a pariah state. Only then can Palestinians have hope for a just peace based on international law and, more crucially, on the fundamental principle of equality for all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or other identity considerations.
 The decision was published in the official Israeli Gazette -- the Hebrew edition -- number 1425. It was therefore "legalized" by
Palestinians living in that area. A large part of the confiscated land was then given to the
Consequently, the case was taken to the Jerusalem District Court in 1972 (file no. 1531/72). In 1973, as expected, the Israeli court ruled in favor of the University and the state. The court decided that the Palestinian families must evacuate their homes and be offered alternative housing.
 Keller, U. (2009) the Academic Boycott of