Geneva - The Israeli Settlements Law is a pretext to justify Israel’s control over the Palestinian Territories and to illegally confiscate Palestinian lands retroactively, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, stressing that the law does not meet international standards and is an attempt to promote racial discrimination in a stark violation of international law.
Since the vote on the law in the Israeli Knesset on February 6, the Israeli practices aimed to legitimize thousands of settler homes built on Palestinian lands throughout the West Bank.
The law was rejected on legal grounds even by some Israelis, including Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, calling it ‘unconstitutional,’ in addition to several political parties in the Israeli Knesset that appealed against it before the Israeli High Court of Justice.
“The law threatens to legislate 53 so-called ‘random’ settlement outposts, comprising approximately 4,000 homes, and will confiscate 8803 dunums (i.e. 800 hectares) of private Palestinian land in return for compensation or transfer to other areas,” said Tamara Abu Ramadhan, a Euro-Med legal researcher.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) issued a report (which was later withdrawn) accusing Israel of applying apartheid by fragmenting the Palestinian people politically and geographically, and by suppressing the Palestinians no matter where they go. The report stated that a large part of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is under Israeli authority; administering the land for the benefit of the Jewish people.
This legal system allows Israel to manage land and resources on the basis of race and deprives Palestinians of basic rights such as building and even obtaining permits to work in return for flourishing Israeli settlements, where mainly the ministries of Construction and Housing and Agriculture and Rural Development are providing the necessary support. These ministries also provide financial incentives for Jews to move to settlements, at the expense of Palestinian lives. Although Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank are subject to Israeli military law, they are denied the right to stand against the State of Israel under Israeli civil law itself, according to an ESCWA report.
Israel claimed that the Settlements Law complies with international standards, international law, organizations and conventions signed by Israel however stated otherwise. The Fourth Geneva Convention and its Protocol I have prohibited the confiscation of the property owned by inhabitants in occupied territories. It also prohibited that the occupying power transfers part of its population to the territories it occupies. Israel's confiscation of land, water and natural resources in favor of settlements violates The Hague Regulations of 1907.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights stressed that the Settlements Law, which legalizes stealing Palestinian land and promotes settlements expansion in the West Bank, should be frozen before the High Court of Justice and even repealed. The Euro-Med Monitor also warns of the danger of Israel’s continuing challenge of international resolutions and to take unilateral measures to build and expand settlements, in a flagrant violation of Palestinian rights; both individuals and groups.