PLO: Court-sanctioned settler land seizure is a war crime

Right-wing politicians and settlers hailed the decision as a landmark shift away from court decisions that favored Palestinians, to ones that would strengthen settlement building.

August 30, 2018 02:36
2 minute read.

Israeli court lines up behind settlement, August 30, 2018 (Reuters)

Israeli court lines up behind settlement, August 30, 2018 (Reuters)


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The Jerusalem District Court sanctioned a war crime when it ruled that the Mitzpe Kramim outpost did not have to be razed, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said on Wednesday.

She spoke just one day after an unprecedented Jerusalem District Court ruling which stated that an outpost, built without permits on private Palestinian land, was legal because it was done out of the belief that the project had been authorized.
High Court of Justice rulings have held that private Palestinian property is sacrosanct, but right-wing lawmakers want to allow for already-built homes on such property to be retroactively legalized in exchange for compensation to the land owners.

“The Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, whether on public or private land, and its illegal settlement enterprise are an egregious violation of international law and conventions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334; it also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Ashrawi said.

“This ruling must be nullified, as it makes a dangerous precedent of retroactively whitewashing illegal outposts and encouraging further lawlessness and acts of violence by the extremist settler population that is terrorizing the Palestinian people, particularly in rural areas and remote villages,” she said. “It also provides the settlers with further motivation to steal the private property of Palestinian landowners. Such a decision also exposes how Israel is distorting its own legal and judicial systems in the service of its settler colonialist expansionism.”

Right-wing politicians and settlers hailed the decision as a landmark shift away from court decisions that favored Palestinians, to ones that would strengthen settlement building in Judea and Samaria.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev sent out a Hebrew blessing of renewal, by way of celebrating the decision, which will likely help strengthen legislative attempts to retroactively legalize some 4,000 settler homes on private Palestinian property.

She said it was a blessing to live in a time when the Israeli courts “strengthened Jewish settlement and don’t dismantle it through judicial activism that is completely contrary to the spirit of the legislature.”

“I am glad that logic and justice overcame cold formalism,” Regev said. “It sends a clear and unequivocal message to the Palestinians and their extreme Left-wing supporters that communities in the Land of Israel won’t be uprooted or evacuated.”
She added that she hoped it would end High Court of Justice rulings which forced the IDF to evacuate settlers from their homes, such as the evacuations from the outposts of Migron and Amona.

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