Settlements Law, NGOs Say Israelis Can Be Prosecuted For War Crimes
Mar 07, 2017 03:27 AM EST
Israeli politicians, military personnel, and civilians, could be prosecuted for their "Settlements Regulation Law" on charges of war crimes, 13 NGOs told the High Court of Justice on Sunday. Led by Yesh Din and Peace Now, the organizations have issued the warning in a 63-page petition to the High Court against the settlements law, passed on Feb. 6.
According to the petition filed by the NGOs, the settlements law applies to the West Bank, an area neither occupied by the Jewish nor democratically run and flagrantly exceeds those boundaries. The 13 NGO groups have filed the petition on behalf of 23 Palestinian local council heads and 4 Palestinian landowners.
The petition, which is the second to be filed against the settlements law, has legalized some 4,000 settler homes build on private Palestinian property. According to The Jerusalem Post, the legislation offers compensation to the landowners in return.
Although compensations are offered to Palestinian landowners, the NGOs assert that the settlements law has violated both Israeli law and regulations that are the foundation of international law. This includes the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, The Hague Regulations of 1907 and laws dating back to the American Civil war.
Under the rules of belligerent occupation, which in this case applies to the West Bank, properties of the Palestinians must be protected by the Israeli military that rules that area. They cannot confiscate the properties for the benefit of Israeli citizens, the petition argues.
The petition, however, more generally contends that individual Palestinians have no political means for opposing the confiscation of their land. It mentions that the settlements law overturns the standard process for land confiscation, dropping procedural due process and protections for the property owners, according to Israel Herald.
Meanwhile, those supporting the settlements law argue that the offer of compensation would place Israel in compliance with international law. Right-wing politicians, further explain that the law was the only solution to prevent what would eventually be the evacuation of close to 4,000 homes.