PCHR – 22 June 2010 00:00
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns aggressive measures taken by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in East Jerusalem, which are part of a series of measures aimed at ethnic cleansing and creating a Jewish majority in the city. Recent measures with this aim have included: bulldozing activities in northern Jerusalem to build 600 new settlement units; a decision by the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem to demolish 22 houses in al-Bustan neighborhood in Salwan village in order to establish “King David’s Garden” on the former location of these houses; a Israeli Supreme Court ruling upholding a decision to deport a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Mohammed Abu Tir; and the closure of Ilaf Association for Education Support in Jerusalem. PCHR holds Israel responsible for the escalation of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). PCHR also confirms that East Jerusalem constitutes an integral part of the OPT, to which international humanitarian law and international human rights law is applicable. PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, and to ensure Israel’s respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that if the international community does not make clear its position that it will no longer accept Israel acting as a State above the law, Israel will be encouraged to continue violating international human rights and humanitarian law..
According to PCHR’s daily investigation of Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem, IOF have taken the following measures during the past two days:
On Sunday, 20 June 2010, the Israeli police closed Ilaf Association for Education Support on Haron al-Rashid Street in Jerusalem on an order issued by Israeli Police General Inspector Dodi Kohen. The pretext given for the closure was that meetings for Hamas were held in offices of the Association. The closure order stated: “In accordance with the powers granted to me and in accordance with Law no. 6a on the Prevention of Terrorism for the Year 1948, I hereby order the closure of Jerusalem Association for Education Support which is known as Ilaf Association, 19, ground floor, Haron al-Rashid street, until 01 July 2010, because it belongs to a terrorist organization and is being used by Hamas. Having reviewed reliable confidential documents proving that the Association is employed by Hamas, we inform you that we are considering the issuance of an additional order to close the Association for one year. Any one who thinks that he/she may be hurt by this order can submit a written appeal to me within 15 days from the publication of this order.” Mustafa Abu Zahra, Chairman of the Association’s Board of Directors, denied the Israeli allegations, explaining that they are false, fabricated and unfounded. Ilaf Association for Education Support in Jerusalem was established seven months ago. Since its establishment, the Association has provided financial assistance in the form of loans to be repaid after graduation to approximately 160 students in different specializations. The value of loans given to students enrolled in medicine, pharmacy and engineering faculties is 400 Jordanian Dinars, and the value of loans given to students enrolled in other faculties is 200 Jordanian Dinars.
Also on Sunday, 20 June 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld an order issued by the Israeli police to deport from Jerusalem Mohammed Abu Tir, a PLC member from the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, until next September when the Court will consider his petition. In its decision, the Court held that this deportation order is valid until the consideration of the petition filed on his behalf in the Court, explaining that if the decision on the petition is in the interest of the deportee, then he will be able to return home. It should be noted that there are another two deportation orders against PLC Members, Ahmed Atwan and Mohammed Totah, and a third one against Eng. Khaled Abu Arafa, former Palestinian Jerusalem Affairs Minister. (For more information, please see PCHR’s press release published on 07 June 2010, Ref: 45/2010).
On Monday morning, 21 June 2010, IOF implemented large-scale bulldozing activities on Palestinian lands between “Pisgat Ze’ev” and “Neve Ya’kov” settlements in the north of occupied Jerusalem in preparation for the construction of 600 new settlement units. The construction of these new settlement units was approved one year ago in order to establish a link between the aforementioned settlements.
Also on Monday, 21 June 2010, the “District Committee of Organization and Construction” in the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem approved a plan to establish the “King David’s Garden” (a Biblical garden) on the former location of houses in al-Bustan neighborhood in Salwan, according to a press release issued by the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem. The Garden will include restaurants and a public hotel. The demolitions will affect 22 houses in the northwestern part of al-Bustan neighborhood. It should be noted that the Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem revealed last year that there was a plan to demolish 88 houses and displace 1,500 individuals. (For more information, please see PCHR’s press release published on 24 February 2009, Ref: 30/2009).
PCHR strongly condemns all forms of settlement activities and other arbitrary actions in East Jerusalem, and:
1- Confirms that East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 05 June 1967, is an integral part of the OPT.
2- Contends that settlement activities in occupied Jerusalem constitute a war crime in accordance with the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.
3- Argues that the Israeli Supreme Court is one of the tools employed by the Israeli occupation; in its rulings, this Court does not take into consideration the provisions of the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.
4- Further contend that measures taken by Israel following the occupation of the city, primarily the Israeli Knesset’s decision on 28 June 1967 to annex the occupied city to the Israeli territories, the Knesset’s decision on 30 July 1980 stating that “the whole united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” and the decision of expanding the Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, constitute grave violations of the international law and United Nations Resolutions.
5- Declares all decisions taken and plans implemented by Israel in the occupied city of Jerusalem will not change its legal status.
6- Alerts all parties that the actions taken by IOF in Jerusalem may serve to escalate the situation in the OPT.
In light of the above, PCHR calls upon:
A – The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or collectively, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, and ensure Israel’s respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community encourages Israel to act as a State above law and to commit more violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including continued efforts to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
B – The international community to immediately intervene to compel the government of Israel to stop all settlement activities in the OPT, especially the occupied East Jerusalem.
C – The European Union (EU) and/or its Member States to activate article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which puts Israel’s respect for human rights as a condition for economic cooperation, and to act to ensure Israel’s respect for human rights. PCHR also calls upon the EU Member States to stop all forms of dealing with Israeli goods, particularly those produced by the Israeli settlements in the OPT.