Bedouin communities near Qalqiliya isolated by Israel and facing school demolition

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

 

22 February 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus, Occupied Palestine

By ISM Nablus

The small Bedouin communities of ‘Arab Ramadin al-Janubi and ‘Arab Ab
Farda lie south of Qalqilya between the apartheid wall and the green line,close to the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe. They are separated from the rest of West Bank from all sides by the Israeli apartheid wall. The communities, founded by people deported from areas in Negev and Netanya during and after the Nakba are today home to around 500 people. They suffer from multiple restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities,including no permissions for new buildings or expansion of existing buildings, and limits to the amount of food and gas allowed for sale in the communities.

Bedouin girls at school

Bedouin girls at school

Access to the communities is limited by Israel with a permission system. The system of access permissions has effectively resulted in the social isolation of the communities, as people from the city of Qalqilya and neighboring villages face difficulties in obtaining permits for visiting the area.

The community of Abu Farda has no access to running water or electricity,and thus water has to be bought in tanks from the village of ‘Azzun. There is a well on the grounds of the village, but the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe has confiscated the well and closed access to it for the inhabitants of Abu Farda. People from the family Fayez living in Abu Farda told us:

“The lack of electricity is a big problem, as we are not able to
refrigerate food bought from merchants or the yogurt and milk we produce ourselves for sale, and our children are not able to do their homework after dark due to lack of lighting.”

Furthermore, the Israeli authorities do not allow veterinaries access to the villages, which is a health risk for the village as it is largely dependent on the raising of livestock.
In October 2012 the community of Ramadin al-Janubi founded a school for 6 to 8 year old children. The new school gives it’s 25 students the opportunity to go to school without having to pass daily through the Israeli checkpoints between the community and a school in the nearby village of Habla. Children older than 8 years still have to go to school outside the community, and in order to reach their schools and go back home they need to cross the Israeli checkpoints twice every single day.

The school in Ramadin, consisting of 4 tents, received a demolition order from the Israeli authorities after two weeks of operation. The faculty of the school live in Qalqilya and have to spend from 30 minutes to over an hour every day passing through the checkpoint and having their papers and belongings examined by the IOF forces at the checkpoint in order to access the school. For now, the village has taken the demolition order to court, and is waiting to for the court hearings to take place.

Bedouin school tents with demolition order

Bedouin school tents with demolition order





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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