Days of Palestine – Ramallah
Al-Haq, the Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights organization, has sent a letter to the office of United States Vice President, Kamala Harris after a Sedar was held at the Vice President’s Residence in which wine from Psagot Winery, an illegal Israeli settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank, was served.
The organization said that the wine was predominantly featured in the event’s social media promotion.
Al-Haq strongly contested the support of Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid illegal settlement enterprise, saying the United States’ receipt of stolen goods, comprising the proceeds of international crimes, and direct involvement in the promotion of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise is of grave concern.
The letter that ‘established on appropriated Palestinian land belonging to the Quran family, the Psagot Winery is an illegal settlement enterprise, the establishment of which, is internationally condemned under UN Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) as having “no legal validity” and constituting “a flagrant violation under international law”.’
“As such, Psagot Winery is complicit in the continued illegal appropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land and pillage of Palestinian natural resources, acts amounting to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In so doing, Psagot Winery has deepened the physical, social, and economic integration of settlements into the OPT, while further fragmenting Palestinian territory and society.”
“Since 1948, Israel has employed a set of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, with the fundamental goal of engineering a Jewish majority in Palestine, through displacing and dispossessing Palestinians, manipulating the demographic composition of the Palestinian population, and at the same time, building and expanding Jewish settlements on both sides of the Green Line,” the letter added, “Settlements are a key component of Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, in which Israel administers the territory under two entirely separate legal systems and sets of institutions: a civil administration for Israeli-Jewish communities living in illegal settlements, and a military administration for the occupied Palestinian population living in Palestinian towns and villages.”
“The United States’ decision to support the presence and sustainment of the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise in its highest office is in blatant violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. This active support of the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise is complicit in the war crime of pillage under Article 8(2)(b)(xvi) of the Rome Statute, and in the illegal facilitation of the ongoing transfer of settlers into the OPT, constituting a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moreover, the U.S. substantially supports the dissemination and promotion of Psagot Wine by allowing it to be sold by Duty-Free America shops located across American airports.
The actions of the Office of the Vice President also breach the United States’ obligation to promote respect for human rights with business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions and to deny public support to business enterprises that are involved with gross human rights abuses. Moreover, it should be noted that by allowing the dissemination and promotion of Psagot Wine to be sold by Duty-Free America, this office has decided to ensure and support the continuity of the Israeli settlement enterprise in violation of international law, thus denying the Palestinian people the realization of their right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over their national resources.”
The organization called on the US Vice President to cease support and end business relations with enterprises operating Israeli illegal settlement
“Considering the United States’ historic support of the Psagot Winery and Israel’s illegal settlement regime under the Trump Administration, the Biden administration’s failure to abide by its obligations to protect Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination and sovereignty over their natural resources is of grave concern. Al-Haq calls on the office of the United States Vice President to take all necessary actions to cease support of Psagot Winery and end all business relations with actors operating in Israeli illegal settlements, in compliance with the United States’ obligations to promote and respect human rights set forth by international law. Al-Haq also calls on the United States to take serious steps to dismantle illegal colonial settlements and their infrastructure across the OPT, halting their planning, construction, and expansion, and ending economic exploitation by transnational and Israeli businesses of the natural resources of the Palestinian people,” the letter concluded.