On May 27, 2021, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) convened a special session on Israel to discuss “violations” allegedly committed by Israel since April 13, 2021. At the session, the Council adopted a resolution calling to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes. The resolution also called for all States to impose an arms embargo on Israel and halt military assistance.

The language of the resolution is nearly identical to the recommendations from an April 2021 report published by Human Rights Watch titled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” Notably, both the UN resolution and HRW called for the Commission of Inquiry to investigate “systematic discrimination and repression” as well as to “collect and preserve evidence” of alleged war crimes. Additionally, both the UN and HRW urged all States to refrain from transferring arms to Israel.

Recalling further the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which place responsibilities on all business enterprises to respect human rights by, inter alia, refraining from contributing to human rights abuses arising from conflictcease providing goods and services that will likely be used for such purposes, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identityinvestigate all forms of systematic discrimination or repression based on group identity in Israel or the OPT.
Collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony and forensic material, in accordance with international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedingscollect and preserve evidence related to abuses for future use by credible judicial institutions
Identify, where possible, those responsible, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountableidentify those responsible for serious crimes, including apartheid and persecution, with a view to ensure that the perpetrators of violations are held accountable
Calls upon all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its accessCooperate with and heed the recommendations of UN bodies and human rights mechanisms
Urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian lawStates should impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against officials and individuals responsible for the continued commission of these serious crimes and condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps towards ending their commission of the crimes of apartheid and persecution
…unilaterally condition arms sales and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps towards ending their commission of the crimes of apartheid and persecution of Palestinians