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Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

The court allows demolition of eight Palestinian villages, displacing inhabitants permanently

Sabrangindia 16 May 2022

 Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West BankImage: https://relevantmagazine.com


In one of the most long-awaited decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’ Supreme Court,  on May 4, 2022, issued a final ruling on a two-decade tedious legal battle wherein it rejected a petition filed against the eviction of more than 1,000 Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied West Bank consisting of eight small Palestinian villages in the Masafer Yatta area in South Hebron hills, and ruled that the land be a designated zone for military exercises.

It is noteworthy that the Court’s decision came out ahead of Israel’s Independence Day. The decision permanently displaced Palestinian families who claimed to have been residing in the 3,000-hectare area since before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, reported the Middle East Eye.

According to Norwegian Refugee Council, the Israeli army has been trying to drive out the Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta for atleast 40 years, since designating 7,400 acres of privately-owned Palestinian agricultural land as “Firing Zone 918”. For this reason, the Palestinian villagers have been subject to atrocities committed by Israeli authorities as they demolished their houses, roads, wells and confiscated their agricultural equipment. Many villagers have been forced to move out and live in natural caves. The said Supreme Court ruling may have put an end to the dispute but it grossly violates the rights of the Palestinian people. It contravenes international law including the laws of belligerent occupation as enshrined in the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Rome Statute of 1998.

“This court ruling effectively opens the door for the Israeli military to uproot entire Palestinian communities that have lived in Masafer Yatta for decades. The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” said Caroline Ort, NRC’s Country Director for Palestine.

UN human rights experts urgently called on Israel and the international community to stop the forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinian communities from Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. "Following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month, around 1,200 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, including 500 children, face imminent risks of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer, in serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” said the experts.

As reported by the Guardian, the Court accepted the State’s argument that the community could not prove they were residents before the 1980s despite evidence submitted proving Palestinians residence even before 1981, when the firing zone was declared. The Guardian quoted the Israeli International Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard, “The judges also rejected the claim that the “prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding”, calling it instead a “treaty norm” that is not enforceable in a domestic court.

In response to this, the UN human rights experts said, “Dismissing, as not relevant or not binding, norms and principles that are foundational of international law is a worrisome indication that the Israeli judicial system is supportive of laws and practices that have progressively crystallized the subjugation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated 217 Palestinian structures in "Firing Zone 918" since 2011, displacing 608 Palestinian residents.

Palestinians have been facing heavy casualties and are being denied basic human rights everyday. For the past 75 years Palestinians have been fighting for their rights. Since 1948, the demographics of the Israel-Palestine map have been changing. While the manay western nations sympathise with Jews for the Holocaust they faced during World War II, ironically history seems to be repeating itself as the Palestinian-Arab population are put through a similar experience.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Plight of Palestinians in an unequal fight

Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West Bank

The court allows demolition of eight Palestinian villages, displacing inhabitants permanently

 Israel’s Supreme Court ruling permits eviction of 1,000 Palestinians in West BankImage: https://relevantmagazine.com


In one of the most long-awaited decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’ Supreme Court,  on May 4, 2022, issued a final ruling on a two-decade tedious legal battle wherein it rejected a petition filed against the eviction of more than 1,000 Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied West Bank consisting of eight small Palestinian villages in the Masafer Yatta area in South Hebron hills, and ruled that the land be a designated zone for military exercises.

It is noteworthy that the Court’s decision came out ahead of Israel’s Independence Day. The decision permanently displaced Palestinian families who claimed to have been residing in the 3,000-hectare area since before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, reported the Middle East Eye.

According to Norwegian Refugee Council, the Israeli army has been trying to drive out the Palestinians out of Masafer Yatta for atleast 40 years, since designating 7,400 acres of privately-owned Palestinian agricultural land as “Firing Zone 918”. For this reason, the Palestinian villagers have been subject to atrocities committed by Israeli authorities as they demolished their houses, roads, wells and confiscated their agricultural equipment. Many villagers have been forced to move out and live in natural caves. The said Supreme Court ruling may have put an end to the dispute but it grossly violates the rights of the Palestinian people. It contravenes international law including the laws of belligerent occupation as enshrined in the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Rome Statute of 1998.

“This court ruling effectively opens the door for the Israeli military to uproot entire Palestinian communities that have lived in Masafer Yatta for decades. The damage this decision will inflict on people’s homes and source of livelihoods is irredeemable. People could be made homeless overnight with nowhere for them to go,” said Caroline Ort, NRC’s Country Director for Palestine.

UN human rights experts urgently called on Israel and the international community to stop the forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinian communities from Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. "Following the judgement of the Israeli High Court of Justice earlier this month, around 1,200 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, including 500 children, face imminent risks of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer, in serious breach of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” said the experts.

As reported by the Guardian, the Court accepted the State’s argument that the community could not prove they were residents before the 1980s despite evidence submitted proving Palestinians residence even before 1981, when the firing zone was declared. The Guardian quoted the Israeli International Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard, “The judges also rejected the claim that the “prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding”, calling it instead a “treaty norm” that is not enforceable in a domestic court.

In response to this, the UN human rights experts said, “Dismissing, as not relevant or not binding, norms and principles that are foundational of international law is a worrisome indication that the Israeli judicial system is supportive of laws and practices that have progressively crystallized the subjugation of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated 217 Palestinian structures in "Firing Zone 918" since 2011, displacing 608 Palestinian residents.

Palestinians have been facing heavy casualties and are being denied basic human rights everyday. For the past 75 years Palestinians have been fighting for their rights. Since 1948, the demographics of the Israel-Palestine map have been changing. While the manay western nations sympathise with Jews for the Holocaust they faced during World War II, ironically history seems to be repeating itself as the Palestinian-Arab population are put through a similar experience.

Related:

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Plight of Palestinians in an unequal fight

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