Geneva, Switzerland – Israel’s decision to evict approximately 1,200 Palestinians from their homes in Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank may amount to a war crime, UN human rights experts said.
The decision to forcibly transfer the Palestinian residents is a serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws, and an independent and impartial investigation into the matter should be established, the experts said.
“By upholding this policy to drive Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta, the Israeli judicial system has given carte blanche to the Israeli Government to perpetuate the practice of systematic oppression against Palestinians,” three UN special rapporteurs said in a joint statement on Monday.
The court decision to permit the forced eviction was “all the more disconcerting”, the UN expert said, as it is being undertaken to allow Israeli military training in the area.
“How can this be given priority over the rights of the Palestinian residents? Israel has shown no ‘imperative military necessity’ to vacate the area. The displacement of the Masafer Yatta communities may thus amount to a war crime,” the rapporteurs said.
Some 500 children are among the estimated 1,200 Palestinian residents who are now at imminent risk of forcible transfer from their land following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month.
On May 4, the high court rejected appeals by the residents of Masafer Yatta to prevent their eviction. The court’s ruling effectively ended two decades of legal battles by the residents who had fought to continue living on their land, which the Israeli army has designated a closed military training site – code-named “Firing Zone 918” – located south of Hebron.
Israeli forces have reportedly already demolished structures in the Masafer Yatta communities of Khribet al Fakhiet and al-Markez, according to the rapporteurs.
Francesca Albanese, a lawyer and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, told Al Jazeera that Israel has not “respected the duties of an occupying power”.
Those duties, which Israel has breached, are delineated in the 1907 Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, said Albanese, who was one of the three signatories to the UN statement.
On 23 November 2019, EuroPal Forum and Middle East Monitor co-hosted a conference at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London on the relations between Europe and Palestine. A first of its kind, the conference brought together individuals at the forefront of discourse on Palestine in
As the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that European Union countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, MEMO and EuroPal Forum are hosting a conference to discuss the EU’s position on major issues related to the occupat