We, the undersigned, call on the United States adhere to its legal obligations to not recognize or assist the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise by banning all Israeli settlement goods from entering U.S. markets and prevent U.S. based companies from operating in these illegal settlements or trading in settlement goods.
All parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are under an obligation to “ensure respect” for the Convention. As a signatory to the 1946 Fourth Geneva Convention (“the Convention”) which refers to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone, the United States is under the obligation to “ensure respect” for the Convention which defines Israel’s settlement building as unlawful.
The international community and expert bodies, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and United Nations Human Rights Council, have long recognized Israel’s settlement building as unlawful. Despite recent rhetoric, United States policy also does not recognize the illegal, unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel, which is considered an impediment to peace.
The illegal Israeli settlement enterprise, its industry and infrastructure are a main driving force behind serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The obligation not to recognize as lawful the illegal situation prohibits not only explicit recognition, but extends also to actions that would imply recognition.
By allowing settlement goods, which sustain settlements, into U.S. markets, the U.S. is conferring implicit recognition on the illegal creation of the settlements from which these goods originate. The U.S. is also providing assistance to the illegal settlement project and is contributing to the maintenance of the settlement economy, which helps finance the continued existence and expansion of illegal settlements. States must ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions and ensure that they do not recognize as lawful the illegal situation of settlements, nor render them assistance including the means to sustain themselves.
It is for this reason that Amnesty International USA and the undersigned call on the U.S., through laws and regulations, to prevent the import of settlement goods to U.S. markets and prevent companies domiciled in the U.S. from operating in settlements or trading in settlement products. Such a prohibition would be consistent with fulfilling the United State’s obligation to not recognize and not to aid or assist an illegal situation and to co-operate through lawful means to bring to an end Israel’s serious breaches of international law.
Not only would the United States be fulfilling legal obligations, but by banning settlement goods and putting in place laws and regulations that stop companies from operating in Israeli settlements, the U.S. has an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of millions of Palestinians who have endured decades of injustice, indignity and discrimination.