The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of WHO Europe to conduct an official conference in Jerusalem, hosted by Israel. The first World Health Organisation (WHO) European Conference on the New European Policy for Health is to take place on the 28–29 November 2011.By conducting a Conference hosted by Israel in the city of Jerusalem, the UN Agency WHO sends an implicit recognition of Israel’s annexation of the city and gives implied legitimization to Israel’s illegal actions in Jerusalem over the past few decades.

The Israeli Knesset’s decision on 28 June 1967 to annex East Jerusalem to the Israeli territories, the Knesset’s declaration on 30 July 1980 that ‘the whole united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel’ and their policy of expanding Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, constitute grave violations of international law and United Nations Resolutions which explicitly recognise East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

The city of Jerusalem is a central issue in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. It touches upon Palestinian right to self-determination as well as civil and political rights. Israel’s policies of annexation and Judaization of Jerusalem has lead to the systematic abuse of Palestinian human rights within Jerusalem such as:

– The continued displacement of the native Palestinian population through forced population transfer;

– Illegal house demolitions;

– Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza being withheld access to Jerusalem holy sites:

– The building of illegal Israel settlements as a means of irreversibly changing the demographic balance of the city in favour of Jewish Israeli’s;

– The Judaization of the city through public works such as the “The City of David”, to be constructed in the Palestinian district of Silwan, as well as the destruction of Palestinian heritage sites within the city;

– The discriminatory targeting and mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces;

The unequal access of Palestinians in Jerusalem to public services;

– Such discrimination against Palestinians in Jerusalem is part of a broader regime of apartheid imposed by Israel on all Palestinians living in Israel/Palestine historic 1948 borders as outlined recently by The Russell Tribunal in South Africa.

PCHR calla on the conference organisers to adhere to UN resolutions respecting East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and the rightful capital of a Palestinian state by cancelling plans to hold the upcoming WHO meeting in Jerusalem.