This legal analysis, submitted to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, examines select issues of religious freedom in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including issues of particular relevance to each of the three major religious communities in the Holy Land. The submission argues that the religious freedom violations analyzed therein are structural features of the Israeli control system in that they extend and preserve Jewish control over the entirety of Mandatory Palestine. It concludes that Israel belongs in a category of states, including Russia and Turkey (which the Commission lists as 'Tier 2' violators of religious freedom, that are characterized by a dominant religious tradition or secular ideology - Russian Orthodoxy, Kemalism, and Zionism - that qualifies its democratic character and results in systemic violations of religious freedom. Additionally, each state is recognized as an occupying power over territory beyond its recognized sovereign borders - Crimea, Northern Cyprus, and Palestine - and each justifies its presence in that occupied territory, in whole or in part, on ethnoreligious grounds. Accordingly, the report urges that the Commission add Israel to its list of Tier 2 violators of religious freedom.
The UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law during Israel's 2014 military operations in the occupied Palestinian territory. Palestine Works and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem submitted a report that focused exclusively on violations committed in occupied East Jerusalem. The report documents and analyses incitement and acts of violence against Palestinians, excessive and unjustified use of force by the Israeli security forces, a surge in arrest, detentions and home invasions, and unprecedented Israeli restrictions on Palestinian worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The report concluded that the extraordinary IHL and IHRL violations seen during the summer of 2014 were but an expression of Israel’s ‘normal’ laws, policies and practices of discrimination, dispossession and repression against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem. Because Israel denies these acts are unlawful, the report urges that primary responsibility for accountability and reparation lies with the international community.