Israel’s human rights organization B’Tselem released a report Tuesday in which it said that Israel’s Civil Administration which governs Area C of the Occupied West Bank, and Israel’s High Court of Justice could be liable for war crimes for the “forcible transfer” of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
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The report, titled, “Fake Justice; The Responsibility Israel’s High Court Justices Bear for the Demolition of Palestinian Homes and the Dispossession of Palestinians,” looks at the planning policies in West Bank with regards to Palestinian property rights.
The policies include reclassifying West Bank territories as Israeli state lands which are often done without due process and does not allow Palestinians to file legal complaints. “The planning apparatus Israel has instituted in the West Bank serves its policy of promoting and expanding Israeli takeover of land across the West Bank,” the report said.
B’Tselem also said that Isreal High Court’s support of this policy is similar to supporting “forcible transfer” which constitutes a war crime under international law.
The report said that “despite hearing arguments that challenged the lawfulness of [Israel’s planning] proceedings, in each and every case the Court has accepted the state’s argument that Palestinian construction is unlawful”.
Due to this, many Palestinians are being dispossessed of their homes and facing demolition orders. According to Civil Administration figures, 16,796 demolition orders were issued against Palestinians from 1988 to 2017.
“It stands to reason that [Israeli] judges are well-aware, or ought to be, of the judicial foundations they are cementing in their rulings, and the devastating implications of these rulings, including the violation of the IHL [international humanitarian law] prohibition on forcible transfer,” the report said.
“Therefore, they too – along with the prime minister, senior ministers, the chief of staff and other senior military officers – bear personal liability for the commission of such crimes.”