Today, as Israeli tanks invaded Nablus again, the Israeli government gave the green light to forcibly transfer two family members of suspected Palestinian activists. In Nablus, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians.
Israeli occupation forces demolished homes and threatens to
expel Kifah Ajuri (28), from Askar refugee camp and Abdel Nasser Asida (34), from the village of Tel, near Nablus, who were arrested on July 18. They were among 21 arrested family members, including the fathers, brothers and sons of suspects.
Kifah Ajuri and Abdel Nasser Asida had 12 hours to appeal to a military court, with an option to make a final appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court. The committee, headed by a military advocate, convened at 10 am this morning at the ‘Ofer detention center to discuss the forcible
transfers. Yesterday, Israeli attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein already gave the green light. He ruled that ‘those relatives guilty of involvement could legally be expelled to Gaza’. Meanwhile, a High Court petition against the expulsion has been submitted to appeal this decision.
LAW believes that there are no provisions in existing law that allow deportations. The Fourth Geneva Convention is unambiguous and not subject to misinterpretation on the issue of deportation. Under Article 49, ‘individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive’. This prohibition is absolute and allows of no exceptions.
In addition to this, the Fourth Geneva Convention defines deportation as a ‘grave breach’ of the Convention, which are equivalent to war crimes. Indeed, deportation is declared a ‘war crime’ and a ‘crime against humanity’ in the 1945 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which is
accepted by Israel as declaratory of customary international law and as such binding on Israel.
In LAW’s view, therefore, the deportation of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot be justified under international law under any circumstances whatsoever, and Israel is guilty of a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention when it does deport Palestinians.
At 2.30 am this morning, Israeli forces with tanks and armored personnel carriers backed by Apache helicopters invaded Nour as-Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarem, and surrounded the home of Omar A’layan in the Manshiya neighbourhood, at the center of the refugee camp. The home belongs to the family of Ahmad A’layan, who committed the Netanya operation, on March 4,
2002. The Israeli soldiers ordered the family and others nearby to leave their shelters, without allowing them to save any belongings. At 2.45 am, the Israeli forces blew up the entrance of the A’layan family home and planned explosives in the home. At 5.30 am the Israeli forces detonated
the explosives which destroyed the two-story building. The building hosted nine residents, including five children.
In addition to this building, five adjacent homes were severely damaged. Another eleven homes were moderately damaged. The first five homes belong to: Hatem Abu Abed, a two store- building, hosting eleven residents, including seven children; Ahmad al-Jundi, a one-store building, hosting seven residents, including three children; Fadel Habeeti, a two store-
building, hosting seven residents, including five children; Nasser al-Jundi, a one-store building, hosting two residents; Amineh Qariyan, a one store building, hosting five residents, including two children.
At the same time, Israeli forces surrounded the family of Hatem Shweiki in the ‘Aisa neighbourhood, southwest Hebron. They raided the home and forced the eighteen residents to leave their home. The Israeli forces planted explosives in the home and later detonated the explosives from a distance, destroying the three-store building. Hatem Shweiki committed the French Hill operation on November 4, 2001.
At 2.30 am, on Thursday, August 1, 2002, Israeli forces demolished the home of ‘Ata Sarasra at al-Ghawali neighbourhood in Beit Jala. ‘Ata Sarasra is the father of Hazem Sarasra (17) who committed the Jerusalem operation on July 13, 2002, that led to the injury of five Israeli
citizens. According to LAW’s information, at 5 pm on Wednesday, July 31, 2002, Israeli forces surrounded Sarasra’s home and took pictures of the home. At around 12.30 at night surrounded the home again and ordered its residents through loudspeakers to evacuate the home. The Israeli forces planted explosives inside and at 2.30 am, on Thursday, they detonated the explosives, destroying the building, including two adjacent appartments, hosting eight residents, including five children. The explosion caused severe damage to the outside walls of the home belonging to Muhammad Sarasra’s, ‘Ata’s brother.
Destruction of property in occupied territories is forbidden under article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It constitutes collective punishment, which explicitly prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It further constitutes extra-judicial punishment and
arbitrary interference in home and property.
Despite the clear illegality of this punitive measure, Israeli occupation authorities have resorted to it throughout the occupation, and have indeed stepped up home demolitions during the second intifada.
LAW believes that nobody should be arrested, detained or exiled where there is no likelihood that he or she committed an offence or where there has been no proper legal process. When an entire family is punished for the suspected deeds of one of its members through the destruction of its home, the arbitrary arrest of family members and possibly the expulsion of family members, there can be little doubt that the punishment is a collective one, primarily affecting people whose only crime is to be related to a person suspected. The punishment of individuals for an action for which they are not personally responsible is properly termed collective punishment.
Also during the previous intifada, Israeli occupation authorities have used this punitive measure as a methodical reprisal against individuals and their families. The demolition of homes of those who have not been tried, convicted, or even arrested, reinforces the conclusion that
demolitions are an extra-judicial form of reprisal.
LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2-5833317, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.lawsociety.org