Palestinian villages protest together against illegal settlement outpost

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

26th April 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Silwad, Occupied Palestine

Israeli military shooting tear gas at protesters. Photo credit: Activestills

Israeli military shooting tear gas at protesters. Photo credit: Activestills

Around six hundred Palestinians along with a small number of international and Israeli activists participated in today’s demonstration in the lands between Silwad and Deir Jreer, in protest against both settler violence and settlement expansion. A new illegal outpost of Ofra settlement consisting of several caravans was established on the villages’ land 20 days ago. This sparked the several days of clashes, followed by this Friday demonstration, one of the first organised with collaboration between the villages.The protest began as midday prayers were held on a hilltop facing the new illegal Israeli outpost. After the prayers, demonstrators proceeded to march towards the outpost but were soon met with excessive amounts of tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and stun grenades, shot by Israeli forces standing on a nearby hilltop. As protesters got closer to the outpost Israeli forces pursued the group, shooting tear gas canisters at them. Multiple rounds of tear gas canisters were also fired from military jeeps. Several demonstrators were treated by Palestinian Red Crescent medics for tear gas inhalation, including some children.

The demonstration finished at around 3pm when Palestinian activists left the fields. Despite this, Israeli forces continued shooting tear gas at the nearby road where people were standing and cars were driving past.

Settlers from nearby Ofra settlement recently raided the village of Deir Jarir, setting fire to ten of the resident’s cars. Earlier in April settlers severely attacked a Silwad villager who used to be a judge, beating him with an iron rod until he lost consciousness. Silwad has seen consistent clashes in recent weeks due to this violence and the establishment of the illegal Ofra outpost twenty days ago.

This outpost consist of caravans and huts situated on Palestinian farm land that the residents of Silwad, Deir Jarir, Taibe and Ein Yabrud have been denied access to for over a decade. A settlement outpost is the first move made by settlers when conducting a land-grab in the West Bank; establishing temporary buildings which are protected by the military and eventually made permanent, in order to establish ‘facts on the ground’ and steal Palestinian land.

Tear gas fired onto the road at the end of today's demonstration

Tear gas fired onto the road at the end of today’s demonstration





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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