PHOTOS | Ongoing Israeli settlement expansion endangers Palestinian communities in South Hebron Hills

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


By Operation Dove | July 23, 2013

While the Israeli government is promoting construction of 80 new housing units in the Israeli settlement of Karmel, the DCO delivers four stop working orders and one demolition order in the Palestinian village of Al Mufaqarah

During the months of June and July the expansion of the Israeli settlements of Karmel, Ma’on and of Avigayil outpost have been documented by Operation Dove volunteers.

The largest expansion was recorded in the settlement of Karmel. During the month of June, building machines worked on the foundation of a new section in the settlement’s southern area. By the middle of July six new houses and three new concrete bases were already constructed in this area. Karmel was built in the 1980s near the Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheer. This new expansion causes additional difficulties to local Bedouin shepherds, who have to graze their sheep near the settlement. During the last two months inhabitants of Umm Al Kheer faced daily violence and harassment by the Israeli army and settlers. Three shepherds were arrested, for example, and Bedouin-owned private properties were damaged.

In the Avigayil outpost, recent expansion has seriously damaged Palestinian-owned fields located in front of its entrance. On July 14 settlers used a bulldozer to steal soil which was then brought inside the outpost. The Palestinian owners of this field filed a complaint about the theft with the District Coordination Office (DCO) responsible for the area. The following day a new gate was installed at the outpost’s entrance, a gate similar to those in the entrances of other West Bank settlements.

In Ma’on, expansions were recorded on the east side of the settlement. At the end of June work on a new building and adjacent wall were taking place, and after less than one month the wall was completed.

While expansion of these settlement in the South Hebron Hills compromises development of the local Palestinian communities, the Israeli government’s planning committee is currently approving construction of 5170 new units in West Bank settlements. Among those, a construction plan of 80 units in the Karmel settlement is deposited and published, waiting for final approval (source: Peace Now,

On July 22 the DCO issued four stop working orders and one demolition order to Palestinian-owned structures in the Al Mufaqarah village. The order concerned two families. For the first family comprised of ten people, the orders consisted of a tent and concrete house. The others were delivered for a house, a tent and a water well belonging to an eleven people family.

The village of al Mufaqarah in located in Area C, under the military and administrative control of Israel. All construction must be approved by the Israeli administration. Israel denies Palestinians the right to build on 70 percent of Area C, which is about 44 percent of the West Bank, while within the remaining 30 percent a series of restrictions are applied which eliminate the possibility to obtain permits (source: OCHA oPt).

While the Palestinian and Bedouin villages of Area C suffer from Israel’s ongoing policy of demolitions and threats, the nearby outposts and settlements continue to expand. Nevertheless the Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills area are still strongly committed to nonviolent popular resistance against the Israeli occupation.

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Pictures of the incident

Pictures of Avigayil outpost

Video of the incident

(source: Ta’yush)

For further information:
Operation Dove, 054 99 25 773

[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]


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


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]


[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).

Still live in fairy-tale-land about Israel? Time to wake up: The Map of the “Greater Israel” even is hammered on the currency:All facts at Storify continuously updated. Read what Israeli ‘leaders’ have said and done even before (peace) talks and how their actions contradict the reality and ugly facts which they try to hide from you:

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