Israeli High Court approves the transfer of Palestinian detainee from Hebron to the Gaza Strip

On Tuesday, 4 November 2003, the Israeli High Court approved the transfer of Kamal Mohammed Hussein Edris from Hebron to the Gaza Strip for a period of 2 years. PCHR received this decision on Wednesday morning, 5 November 2003.

This comes after the Israeli High Court issued a temporary decision on 24 October 2003, halting the transfer of 5 Palestinian detainees, including Kamal Mohammed Hussein Edris and Taha Ramadan Dwaik, from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, in response to an appeal submitted on the same day by PCHR and Ad-Dameer Association for Human Rights on behalf of Edris and Dwaik.

PCHR and Ad-Dameer submitted the appeal to the Israeli High Court after the Israeli military appeals committee issued a decision to uphold an “assigned residence” order issued against 18 Palestinians from the West Bank. The original order, signed by Major General Moshe Kaplinski, GOC of the Central Command, subjected a total of 18 Palestinians, including Edris and Dwaik, to periods of “assigned residence” in the Gaza Strip, effectively transferring them from their places of residence in the West Bank. All 18 Palestinians are registered as residents of the West Bank and were being held in administrative detention by the Israeli military on suspicion of involvement in attacks against Israeli targets.

The Israeli High Court will hold a session tomorrow to make a final decision regarding the appeal submitted to the court on behalf of Taha Ramadan Dwaik. In the coming few days the High Court will also decide whether to uphold the transfer of the remaining Palestinian detainees. 17 Palestinians are currently being detained pending final decisions on the military order to transfer them to the Gaza Strip.

PCHR repeats its condemnation of the use of “assigned residence” orders by the Israeli military. PCHR considers that these “assigned residence” orders constitute unlawful transfers within the meaning of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949.

The unlawful transfer of a protected person also constitutes a grave breach of the Convention (article 147), and a war crime, as further clarified in article 85 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions. PCHR thus calls upon the Israeli military to immediately rescind these “assigned residence” orders and halt all other grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

PCHR further repeats its call to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take immediate steps to intervene to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people.