The Palestinian Center for Human
Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the recent Israeli settlement plans in the West
Bank in general, and in East Jerusalem in particular. PCHR confirms that settlement activities in
the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) constitute a war crime and 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 the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT in accordance
with article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that if the international community does not take a
serious position toward Israel in acting as a State above the law, Israel will
be encouraged to commit more violations of the international human rights law
and international humanitarian law.
According to declarations of Israeli
official bodies responsible for settlement activities in the West Bank this
week, there are plans to start building more than 26,000 housing units in
Jerusalem and the neighboring suburbs, especially in the east and south. Declarations were as follows:
– On 08 March 2010, Israeli occupation authorities gave a
green light for building 112 housing units in "Betar Illit"
settlement, west of Bethlehem.
– On 09 March 2010, the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved
building 1,600 housing units in the East Jerusalem. According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz,
these housing units will be built in "Ramat Shlomo" neighborhood to
expand it towards the east and the south.
– On Thursday, 11 March 2010, the Hebrew web site of the
Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem put
plans for building thousands of settlement housing units in the occupied
city. According to the website, a large
portion of this plan, which will be implemented in the eastern and southern
parts of Jerusalem, is supported by the Israeli government. Some of these plans have reached advanced
stages to be implemented as follows: 3,000 housing units in "Gilo"
settlement; 1,500 ones on Abu Ghneim Mountain; 1,500 ones in "Pisgat
Ze’ev" settlement; 3,000 ones in "Givat Matosim" settlement;
1,200 ones in "Ramot" settlement;
450 one in "Nabi Yacov" settlement; 144 ones in "Olive
Mount" settlement; and building a new neighborhood containing 13,000
housing units near al-Walajah village, northwest of Bethlehem, which overlooks
PCHR strongly condemns all forms of
settlement activities in the West Bank, and all Israeli policies practiced in
East Jerusalem aiming at creating a Jewish majority in the city, and:
- Confirms that East Jerusalem,
which has been occupied since 04 June 1967, is an integral part of the
- Procedures 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 a grave
violation of the international law and United Nations Resolutions.
- All decisions taken and plans
implemented by Israel in the occupied city will not change its legal
In light of the above said, PCHR
- The High Contracting Parties to
the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or collectively, to fulfill their
legal and moral obligations, and ensure that 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 efforts to
create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
- 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.
- 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 the Israeli goods,
particularly those produced by the Israeli settlements in the OPT.