STORY: Wrap-up Commission of Inquriy on the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel – Public Hearings
TRT: 2 mins 31s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 11 November 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
The Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, concluded today a first series of public hearings held during the past week at the United Nations in Geneva. These hearings were part of the Commission’s ongoing investigative work, including for upcoming reports.
“This week, we looked at two particular subsets or categories within this broad framework”, said Chris Sidoti, Commission Member. “The first dealt with the designations of seven Palestinian non-government organizations, human rights organizations, as unlawful organisations and six of them as terrorist organisations,” he explained.
Mr. Sidoti added that “the second thing that we looked at was the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. So, these are not the sole focus of our investigation at all, but rather we see them as particularly significant in giving us a better understanding of the overall situation of civic space, civil society and throughout that region, throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.”
During the past week, 13 witnesses and victims of civil society organizations and legal representatives provided relevant testimony to the three Commissioners Navi Pillay, Chris Sidoti and Miloon Kothari in this forum. One of them is Lina Abu Akleh who has been seeking justice and accountability for the killing of her aunt, the Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, on 11 May 2022.
“Lina Abu Akleh talked about the events at the funeral of her aunt Shireen Abu Akleh, and that gave us a great deal of additional insight into how the family related to the Israeli authorities and what occurred on the day of the funeral”, reported Mr. Sidoti. “I am hearing directly from Ali Sammoudi, who was the second journalist who was shot, not killed but shot on the same day, was very important to get a better understanding of what occurred during those terrible hours when Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and died.”
The public hearings provided not only the Commission with important insights, but they also gave a public voice to those who have been suffering and haven’t been heard in the past.
“It is really important for these public hearings to be held because it allows us the space to share our testimonies, the experience and the suffering we had to endure over the past six months, but also it allows our voices to get across and our messages and our demands. It’s because it’s unfortunate that the Commission of Inquiry cannot access the territories”, said Lina Abu Akleh.
Shireen’s death sparked outrage and condemnation as the journalist had been covering an Israeli security operation in the city of Jenin in the Palestinian territories when she was killed.
“The lack of accountability, the lack of justice is what pushed me to advocate for my aunt Shireen”, said Lina Abu Akleh. “It’s the importance of getting justice and getting her message across, is what continues to push me towards our pursuit”,
In May 2021, the Commission of Inquiry was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021.