Palestine: Population Transfer is a War Crime

An independent United Nations expert issued a warning to Israel that population transfers in or from occupied territory would constitute war crimes under international law.

Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, strongly encouraged Israel to prevent violations of international law in east Jerusalem. Falk specifically referenced Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s development plan to demolish 22 buildings in Silwan, as well as the situation of four Palestinians whose residency permits in east Jerusalem may be revoked.

A municipal plan involving 22 house demolitions in the El-Bustan (King’s Garden) section of the Silwan neighborhood passed an initial Local Planning and Construction Committee hearing on June 21.

“These actions, if carried out, would violate international law, with certain actions potentially amounting to war crimes under international humanitarian law,” said Falk, who reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“It is disturbing that Israel is considering revoking the residency permits of Muhammad Abu-Tir, Ahmad Attoun, Muhammad Totah, and Khaled Abu Arafeh, all current or former members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and longtime residents of east Jerusalem,” Falk said, noting that the High Court of Justice was scheduled to consider the case on September 6.

“What is particularly shocking is that Israel appears ready to forcibly transfer these individuals based on their supposed lack of loyalty to the State of Israel,” he stated. “Israel, as an occupying power, is prohibited from transferring civilian persons from east Jerusalem, and is prohibited from forcing Palestinians to swear allegiance or otherwise affirm their loyalty to the State of Israel…”


Jordana Horn – Jerusalem Post

Abe Selig, Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post staff contributed also to the report.

October 23, 2010




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