7 June 2017 – Press Release: 50 Years of Israeli Occupation


This week marks the 50th year of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands in June 1967.  As we somberly mark this anniversary, we reflect with regret on the decades of the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people and the flagrant denial of their rights and the colonization of the Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, by this brutal foreign military occupation, all in violation of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

On this solemn occasion, the Palestinian people and their leadership reiterate their urgent calls on the international community to swiftly and fully assume its legal, political and moral responsibilities to bring an end to all of the occupying Power’s crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees, who have endured tragedy and injustice for nearly seven decades.  It is high time to bring to an immediate end Israel’s half-century occupation that has controlled every aspect of Palestinian life and to allow the Palestinian people to realize their inalienable rights, including to self-determination and independence.

The international consensus in this regard is clear: ending this illegal foreign occupation is the start and key to achieving long-denied justice and rights for the Palestinian people and to ultimately achieving a just, lasting, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the question of Palestine in all its aspects.

For this to become reality, the exceptional treatment bestowed upon Israel, the occupying Power, must be halted. It can no longer be permitted to act as a State above the law with total impunity and arrogant contempt for the international community, including the United Nations.  The occupying Power must be compelled to respect international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and comply with UN resolutions without exception, including Security Council resolutions, including most recently resolution 2334 (2016­­).

Enough is enough.  Our people will not be silenced and will never accept Israel’s systematic denial and violations of our rights and colonization of our land.  It is time to mobilize the political will to uphold the law and end the appeasement of Israel that has been tantamount to complicity in its crimes against the Palestinian people.  It is time to finally end this grave injustice and end the suffering of the Palestinian people; not another generation should bear this tragedy.

Although Israel continues to do all it can to destroy the prospects for a just peace and prevent the realization of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders, the Palestinian people remain steadfast, insistent on the attainment of all their rights, including to self-determination, and the independence of their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution for the Palestine refugee question, the core pillars of a genuine, lasting peace, in conformity with international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative.

We demand our human rights.  We demand peace, security and freedom.  We demand to be treated humanely, free from occupation and free from want and fear.  We demand justice.

We will continue to use all the peaceful, political, diplomatic and legal tools available to us to achieve this, and we call on all the members of the international community to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and work with us until we achieve this noble goal. It is time to end the occupation NOW.

A few facts and figures related to 50 years of occupation:

  • According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Israel maintains its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights. HRW states that “at least five categories of major violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law characterize the occupation: unlawful killings; forced displacement; abusive detention; the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement; and the development of settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.” [i]
  • While the number of Palestinians killed and injured since 1967 by the occupying Power amounts to thousands of civilians, the Israeli occupying forces killed 248 Palestinian civilians and injured 18,062, including children between 13 September 2015 and 30 September 2016. [ii]
  • HRW found that Israeli occupying forces killed well over 2,000 Palestinian civilians in the last three Gaza wars (2008-09, 2012, 2014) alone. HRW concluded that many of these attacks constitute violations of international humanitarian law due to a failure to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians. Some amount to war crimes, including the targeting of apparent civilian structures.[iii]


Since 1967, the occupying Power has:

  • Destroyed more than 48,000 Palestinian homes and other structures, including agricultural buildings and places of business, in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Israel claims such demolitions were committed because the homes and structures were built without “permission” from Israel’s occupying authorities, which is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain.[iv]
  • Constructed approximately 125 official settlements and facilitated and been complicit in the construction of more than 100 so-called “settlement outposts,” on occupied Palestinian land, including in and around East Jerusalem, in violation of international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, according to which such actions are considered war crimes. The Israeli settlements separate Palestinian cities, towns and villages from one another and the outside world and sever occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, destroying the prospects of a contiguous and viable independent Palestinian State.[v]
  • Illegally transferred approximately 650,000 Israeli settlers, many of them violent, heavily-armed religious fanatics and extremists, onto occupied Palestinian land, including approximately 350,000 in the West Bank and 300,000 in East Jerusalem.[vi]
  • Imposed a cruel and illegal siege and naval blockade on occupied Gaza, starting in 2006, which amounts to collective punishment of the 2 million Palestinians living there.[vii] An estimated 47,000 people remained displaced at the end of 2016 from the 2014 war.[viii] As of last year, Gaza’s GDP was 23 percent lower than in 1994. Over seventy percent of Gaza’s civilian population relies on humanitarian assistance.[ix] Israel, as the occupying power, must lift the blockade, which contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective penalties and prevents the realization of a broad range of human rights.[x]
  • Revoked the residency rights of approximately 250,000 Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and more than 14,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.[xi]
  • Detained and imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians under Israeli military orders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This number constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the OPT and as much as 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population. It also includes approximately 10,000 women jailed since 1967, as well as 8,000 Palestinian children arrested since 2000.[xii]
  • 95,000 Palestinian children have been detained by the Israeli occupying forces, 62% of whom have likely been subjected to some form of physical violence. [xiii]

[i] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[ii] Palestinian Ministry of Health (Figures cover the period: October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016)

[iii] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[iv] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[v] Ibid

[vi] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[vii] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[viii] https://www.ochaopt.org/sites/default/files/fragmented_lives_2016_english.pdf

[ix] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[x] https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-impact-blockade-november-2016

[xi] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule


[xiii] Military Court Watch, Widespread, systematic and institutionalized abuse of minors in the West Bank, 10 June 2015