Al-Haq’s new briefing paper “70 Years On: Palestinians Retain Sovereignty Over East and West Jerusalem” examines Israel’s unlawful annexation of Jerusalem, its continued forcible transfer of Palestinian residents therein, and the failure of the international community to uphold Palestinian rights to the city.
Although the right to self-determination had international recognition following World War I, and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations emphasized safeguarding the “interests of the indigenous population,” Britain’s Palestine Mandate incorporated pledges made to Zionists to allow for Jewish immigration and the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people.” This contradiction and the disregard for the rights of the Palestinian Arab population continued when the international community developed the plan of partition and corpus separatum.
Within this context, in 1948, Zionist forces began to target Jerusalem and its environs, with Arab villages including Ein Karem, Deir Yasin, Al Malha, and Lifta being violently emptied of its Palestinian residents, and often razed. Nearly 60,000 Palestinians from west Jerusalem became refugees. Even following this forced transfer and Israel’s occupation of west Jerusalem in 1948, its occupation of east Jerusalem in 1967, and its continued imposed demographic changes, Israel does not hold sovereign rights over Jerusalem.
Al-Haq calls on the international community to recognize and remedy these past injustices, and ensure that international law, including the right of Palestinians to return to west Jerusalem, alongside other villages and cities, is upheld. Al-Haq further calls on Palestinian leadership to assert Palestinians’ legitimate claim to all of Jerusalem, and ensure that any future agreements do not contravene international law.