On Wednesday morning, 12 November 2003, the Israeli High Court approved an Israeli military order to transfer a Palestinian detainee, Taha Tamadan Rateb Dwaik, a resident of Hebron, to the Gaza Strip for 2 years. Dwaik is married and a father of 4 children. Dwaik is the second detainee to have been transferred to the Gaza Strip this week.
The Israeli High Court issued a decision on 24 October 2003 ordering a temporary halt to the transfer of Dwaik and 4 other Palestinian detainees, pending an appeals hearing. The four were part of a group of 18 Palestinian detainees against whom Israeli occupying forces had issued orders “assigning residence” to the Gaza Strip for periods ranging from 1 to 2 years. The decision came in response to an appeal submitted against the “assigned residence” orders to the Israeli High Court by PCHR, in conjunction with the Addameer Association for Human Rights.
In the first transfer of a member of this group, on Monday evening, 10 November 2003, Israeli occupying forces dumped Kamal Mohammed Hussein Edris, also from Hebron, close to al-Shuhada’ Junction to the east of “Netzarim” settlement, south of Gaza City. The transfer of Edris was implemented following a final ruling of the Israeli High Court on 4 November 2003, approving the “assigned residence” order issued against him. Following today’s decision, the transfer order against Dwaik could be implemented at any time.
Following these two individual decisions, PCHR remains concerned that the appeals of 16 other Palestinian detainees from the West Bank against whom similar “assigned residence” orders have been issued will be rejected within the coming days and that they will also be subsequently transferred to the Gaza Strip. All 16 are currently being held in detention at the Erez military compound in the northern Gaza Strip pending a decision on their appeal to the High Court. All of the detainees were arrested for alleged involvement in attacks against Israeli targets. However, no evidence to support these allegations has been disclosed during these proceedings.
PCHR condemns reiterates its position that the unlawful transfer of a protected person constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime, as further clarified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. PCHR further repeats its calls to the international community, specifically the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to ensure the complete cessation of all unlawful transfers and other violations of the Convention, perpetrated by the Israeli government and its occupying forces with legal coverage from the Israeli High Court.