You will have already seen that Haaretz has reported a unanimous vote for Israeli accession to the OECD this morning.
FYI, the Palestinians hope to achieve a small technical delay based on a legal argument (below) by getting the legal advisors of one of the MFAs of a member country to request a legal opinion on this issue from the OECD legal department, and asking that the accession process (due to be finalised May 27) be suspended until this legal question is answered.
The bottom line of this argument is that the OECD would itself be breaching the 4th Geneva convention if it admits Israel under current conditions (i.e with settlement data, but without data on Palestinians in the OPT). By including settlement data it has actually forced itself to apply the rules of occupation (Geneva 4) to Israel, which include responsibility of the Occupying Power for the welfare of the occupied population. The only way that accession would be legal is a) if settlement/OPT data is totally excluded [total disaggregation] or b) if data from both settlements and OPT Palestinians is included.
A brief based on this argument has been sent to all Ministries of foreign affairs of member countries.
The legal argument will now be important for press purposes. Please feel free to send it around as another point of messaging to your lists.
Here is the full text of the argument:
Israel has submitted economic statistics to the OECD which include data pertaining to its settlements in the OPT and has been unwilling/unable to disaggregate them. Due to this fact, the OECD cannot handle Israel’s application for OECD accession as if it were an application by the State of Israel in its pre-1967 borders; Israel’s application must be examined in light of its role as Occupying Power under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) and the law on state responsibility.
Under the terms of the GCIV, the Occupying Power is under a legal obligation to ensure the economic wellbeing of the protected Palestinian population; the transfer of the Occupying Power’s own civilian population into Occupied Territory constitutes a grave breach (war crime). High Contracting Parties (HCP) are under a legal obligation to ensure respect for the GCIV by the Occupying Power. The law on state responsibility, moreover, requires that no state render aid or assistance to unlawful acts committed by another state.
Accordingly, if member states and the OECD itself accept accession of Israel with any of the data including Israeli civilians living in the Occupied Territory (even provisionally, with the proviso that the data is disaggregated at a later stage, after accession), they are absolutely required to ensure that the protected Palestinian population is also included in this data.
The OECD and member states would be violating their legal obligations under both bodies of international law should Israel be accepted – even provisionally – into the OECD with the current statistical data, including Israeli civilians living in Occupied Territory, but arbitrarily excluding four million GCIV-protected Palestinian civilians living in the Occupied Territory from the data. OECD member states as HCP would be thereby endorsing and becoming complicit with Israel’s grave breach of population transfer. This creates another legal, technical and political issue of substantive and immediate concern for the OECD and its member states. If the statistics of four million Palestinian civilians who currently live under the martial law of the Occupying Power are included, consideration will need to be given to the separate legal, political, military and economic systems and policies Israel has been applying to its settler-citizens and the GC-IV-protected Palestinian population in the Occupied Territory since 1967.
Our request is for OECD and member states to delay Israel’s membership until these serious legal issues are addressed and clarified.