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Israeli Plans to Confiscate 12,000 Dunams of Palestinian Land 

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD (non profit)
Press Release

Ref: 59/2009
Date: 04 May 2009
Time: 10:45 GMT

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli Ministry of the Interior’s decision to expand the illegal West Bank settlement of “Ma’ale Adumim” and to confiscate 12,000 donums(12 million square meters) of Palestinian land.

In the context of policies aimed to establishing a Jewish majority in
occupied East Jerusalem – thereby consolidating its illegal annexation – the
Israeli Minister of Interior, Elli Yishai, decided to adopt the
recommendations of a special committee established by his ministry to link
"Qedar" settlement with the larger "Ma'ale Adumim" settlement, east of
Jerusalem. Under the Israeli Ministry of Interior's plan, at least 12,000
donums of Palestinian land will be annexed to "Ma'ale Adumim", linking it
with the smaller "Qedar" settlement, which is located nearly 3 kilometers to
the east. A few months ago, the Israeli media unveiled another plan to
construct 6,000 new housing units in "Qedar" settlement. The implementation
of these plans will disrupt geographical contiguity between the north and
south West Bank, and will isolate Jerusalem from the West Bank as a whole.
These decisions fundamentally undermine the viability of any future
Palestinian State.

Israeli occupation authorities have recently started to establish a new
settlement neighborhood in the densely Palestinian-populated al-Sawahra
area, southeast of Jerusalem. They have also continued to undermine
Palestinian construction in the city, in an effort to impose forced
migration on the Palestinian population. Dozens of Palestinian families have
been ordered to evacuate their homes under various pretexts, related to,
inter alia, the lack of construction licenses and the construction of homes
on lands allegedly owned by Israeli settlement associations. Recent orders
targeted two floors constructed atop the Armenian Church in the Old Town,
which was built more than 150 years ago.

International law explicitly prohibits the annexation of land consequent to
the use of force (Article 47, Fourth Geneva Convention), a principle
confirmed in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. International
humanitarian law is unambiguous in this regard: occupation does not imply
any right whatsoever to dispose of territory. Annexation is
straightforwardly illegal.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention also explicitly prohibits the
transfer and settlement of parts of the Occupying Power’s population in
occupied territory. PCHR wish to highlight the underlying purpose of this
provision, as noted in the authoritative commentary to the Geneva
Conventions: “It is intended to prevent a practice adopted by during the
Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own
population for political or racial reasons or in order … to colonize those
territories. Such transfers worsened the economic situation of the native
population and endangered their separate existence as a race.”

The United Nations estimate that there are currently between 480,000 and
550,000 illegal settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

PCHR strongly condemns all Israeli policies and measures aimed at
consolidating the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, and:

1) Emphasizes that East Jerusalem is an integral part of
Palestinian territories that have been occupied since the 1967 war.

2) Asserts that measures taken by Israeli occupation forces
following the occupation of the city, especially the Israeli Knesset's
decisions on 28 June 1967 to annex the city to Israeli territory and on 30
July 1980 declaring that the “complete and united Jerusalem is the capital
of Israel”, and the decision to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem, violate
international law and United Nations resolutions.

3) Stresses that all decisions, plans and measures implemented by
Israeli occupation authorities in the occupied city do not alter the legal
status of the city.

In light of the above:

1) PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties, individually and
collectively, to fulfill their legal and moral obligation under article 1 of
the Convention to ensure Israel's respect for the Convention in the OPT.

2) PCHR believes that international silence serves to encourage Israel
to act as a state above the law and to continue violating international
human rights law and international humanitarian law.

3) PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately act to
force the Israeli government to stop all settlement activities in the OPT,
especially in occupied East Jerusalem.

4) PCHR calls upon the European Union and/or its State members to
activate article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which affirm
Israel's respect for human rights as a condition for continue economic
cooperation. PCHR calls also upon State members of the European Union to
boycott Israeli goods, especially those produced in illegal Israeli
settlements established in the OPT.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
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