Airstrip Established In Illegal West Bank Settlement

“Settling” constitutes a warcime according to international law and ICC statute. Even under US’ own military legislations’
Law resources below this article

Wednesday February 13, 2013 01:04 by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

alumotDespite its illegality, the Israeli Army and the Aviation Department do not seem bothered by an illegal small airstrip established by a former Air Force pilot who lives in the Alumot illegal outpost, near the Itamar illegal settlement in the West Bank district of Nablus.

Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the airstrip was the idea by a settler identified as, Yedidya Meshulami, who settled in the area in 1996.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli government report on settlements said that the airstrip, dubbed as “The Pilot’s Hill”, was built in part on lands that are dubbed by Israel as “state land”, while other parts are on privately owned Palestinian lands.

The settler is also a shepherd who makes cheeses and sells them, and decided a few months ago to build a runway. Last week, he started preparing the hanger to store a used ultra-light plane he bought for the amount of NIS 80.000 (around $ 21.662).

Haaretz also reported that Meshulami has also been periodically using his light plan to fly all around the occupied West Bank.

But the Israeli aviation regulations do not allow light planes to fly in the occupied West Bank, as planes flying over the territories must fly at an altitude of at least 8000 feet, but in this case with a very light plane, this altitude is too high.

The second violation and contradiction is that this runway has not been approved by Israel, and the government does not seem annoyed by it at the current stage, in addition to the fact that, within the 1948 territory, all Israelis need a permit in order to be allowed to build an airstrip, but this airstrip is in a settlement in the occupied West Bank where Israel’s Airport Authority has no operations.

Haaretz also reported that all hilltop settlements, illegal under the law, surrounding the Itamar settlement, became areas described as “Wild West of settlements”, as they have no organized or unified leadership or spokespersons, and the Israeli Civil Administration Office that operates in the occupied West Bank “stopped trying to enforce the law in these areas.”

The Israeli paper asked the Civil Administration office about the issue, and about what type of action it would take regarding the illegal airstrip, and the office only stated that “it’s handling it”.

Related News

  • Febr 12, 2013 | Israeli settlers build airstrip in the occupied West Bank – MEMO
  • Febr 12, 2013 | Settlers Inaugurate airport for light aircraftPIC
     



LAW

“States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.”

Summary

State practice establishes this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in international armed conflicts.
International armed conflicts

The prohibition on deporting or transferring parts of a State’s own civilian population into the territory it occupies is set forth in the Fourth Geneva Convention.[1]

It is a grave breach of Additional Protocol I.[2]

Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.[3]

Many military manuals prohibit the deportation or transfer by a party to the conflict of parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.[4]

This rule is included in the legislation of numerous States.[5]

Official statements and reported practice also support the prohibition on transferring one’s own civilian population into occupied territory.[6]

Attempts to alter the demographic composition of an occupied territory have been condemned by the UN Security Council.[7]

In 1992, it called for the cessation of attempts to change the ethnic composition of the population, anywhere in the former Yugoslavia.[8]

Similarly, the UN General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Rights have condemned settlement practices.[9]

According to the final report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements, “the implantation of settlers” is unlawful and engages State responsibility and the criminal responsibility of individuals.[10]

In 1981, the 24th International Conference of the Red Cross reaffirmed that “settlements in occupied territory are incompatible with article 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.[11]

In the Case of the Major War Criminals in 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg found two of the accused guilty of attempting the “Germanization” of occupied territories.[12]

References

[1] Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, sixth paragraph (cited in Vol. II, Ch. 38, § 334).

[2] Additional Protocol I, Article 85(4)(a) (adopted by consensus) (ibid., § 335).

[3] ICC Statute, Article 8(2)(b)(viii) (ibid., § 336).

[4] See, e.g., the military manuals of Argentina (ibid., §§ 346–347), Australia (ibid., § 348), Canada (ibid., § 349), Croatia (ibid., § 350), Hungary (ibid., § 351), Italy (ibid., § 352), Netherlands (ibid., § 353), New Zealand (ibid., § 354), Spain (ibid., § 355), Sweden (ibid., § 357), Switzerland (ibid., § 357), United Kingdom (ibid., § 358) and United States (ibid., § 359).

[5] See, e.g., the legislation of Armenia (ibid., § 361), Australia (ibid., §§ 362–363), Azerbaijan (ibid., §§ 364–365), Bangladesh (ibid., § 366), Belarus (ibid., § 367), Belgium (ibid., § 368), Bosnia and Herzegovina (ibid., § 369), Canada (ibid., §§ 371–372), Congo (ibid., § 373), Cook Islands (ibid., § 374), Croatia (ibid., § 375), Cyprus (ibid., § 376), Czech Republic (ibid., § 377), Germany (ibid., § 379), Georgia (ibid., § 380), Ireland (ibid., § 381), Mali (ibid., § 384), Republic of Moldova (ibid., § 385), Netherlands (ibid., § 386), New Zealand (ibid., §§ 387–388), Niger (ibid., § 390), Norway (ibid., § 391), Slovakia (ibid., § 392), Slovenia (ibid., § 393), Spain (ibid., § 394), Tajikistan (ibid., § 395), United Kingdom (ibid., §§ 397–398), Yugoslavia (ibid., § 399) and Zimbabwe (ibid., § 400); see also the draft legislation of Argentina (ibid., § 360), Burundi (ibid., § 370), Jordan (ibid., § 382), Lebanon (ibid., § 383) and Trinidad and Tobago (ibid., § 396).

[6] See, e.g., the statements of Kuwait (ibid., § 405) and United States (ibid., §§ 406–407) and the reported practice of Egypt (ibid., § 402) and France (ibid., § 403).

[7] See, e.g., UN Security Council, Res. 446 , 452 and 476 (ibid., § 408), Res. 465 (ibid., § 409) and Res. 677 (ibid., § 410).

[8] UN Security Council, Res. 752 (ibid., § 411).

[9] See, e.g., UN General Assembly, Res. 36/147 C, 37/88 C, 38/79 D, 39/95 D and 40/161 D (ibid., § 412) and Res. 54/78 (ibid., § 405); UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2001/7 (ibid., § 413).

[10] UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Final report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements (ibid., § 415).

[11] 24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Res. III (ibid., § 419).

[12] International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Case of the Major War Criminals, Judgement (ibid., § 421).


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