Roadmap Agreement

The lack of explicit and detailed human rights safeguards in the Oslo Accords has had a significant impact. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have downplayed the obligations of international humanitarian law and human rights in their behaviour on the ground. Israel`s ill-treatment has been severely restricted to freedom of movement, torture and ill-treatment in detention, hostage-taking and other violations. Ill-treatment by Palestinian security forces included torture, suspicious deaths in custody and life imprisonment without charge or trial. Many of these abuses have continued or expanded. Current abuses include illegitimate executions and indiscriminate or excessive use of lethal force by Israeli security forces, collective punishment, severe and widespread restrictions on freedom of movement, and the Palestinian Authority`s systematic failure to prevent or punish deliberate attacks by Palestinian armed groups on civilians. Human Rights Watch has long called on parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and respect for human rights obligations. He now urges the members of the Quartet to ensure that the implementation and follow-up of the provisions of the Roadmap are in line with international rules on humanitarian action and human rights. As the main sponsor and principal monitor of the roadmap process, the United States has a special duty to ensure that this happens. Inclusion and respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of human rights is the best way to reduce the suffering of the civilian population, assess progress impartially and ensure a sustainable negotiation process. Specific recommendations for roadmap monitors will be presented at the end of this document. In the language of this paragraph, the seriousness of the offences it describes is poorly described.

All these measures are contrary to international humanitarian law: some are war crimes. Their inclusion in the text of the roadmap is a necessary (and long-awaited) step in promoting IHL standards. But the Israeli authorities and members of the Quartet must be aware that such actions are prohibited, regardless of the circumstances. They are prohibitions that exist independently of the roadmap process – they cannot be ruled out or subject to the actions of another party. The Quartet should insist that the measures to which Israel is invited in this section are in fact obligations under international humanitarian law. However, attempts to end the conflict have rarely incorporated human rights or LH IHL standards, which could reduce such violations or provide a broad framework for a negotiated solution. Instead, they were negotiated, supposedly in the interest of an elusive political solution. For example, the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Autonomy Agreements, the first Oslo Agreement, did not contain operational language for the protection of human rights or international humanitarian law. Instead, in its preamble, it referred only to parties as “legitimate and reciprocal political rights.” Nevertheless, public support for these processes and the relevance of their content have been significantly undermined by persistent violations of fundamental rights on the ground. The roadmap contains an ambitious agenda for reforming Palestinian government and legislative institutions, including the appointment of a new prime minister, an “authorized” interior minister, elections, and the development and adoption of a new Palestinian constitution based on a “strong parliamentary democracy.” Many of them are potentially positive, but the steps to achieve them remain undefined.

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