Monday, October 23, 2017

  • Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Last week there was a bombshell in the Israeli political scene:
Israel does not necessarily need to evacuate any West Bank settlements in a future peace deal with the Palestinians, Labor party leader Avi Gabbay said Monday.

The left-wing party leader made the statement in an interview with Israel's Channel 2, after having been asked whether the Eli or Ofra settlements would have to be evacuated.

"If you make a peace deal, solutions can be found that do not necessitate evacuations," Gabbay said. "If a peace deal is made, why do we need to evacuate? I think the dynamic or the terminology that we have become accustomed to, that if you make a peace deal you evacuate, is not actually true."
The statement shocked members of Labor and its partner, Zionist Union, and was widely criticized, but mostly privately, out of fear of public infighting in the beleaguered leftist party.

Gabbay himself clarified a day later, and the media completely missed that his clarification was not based on a rightist view - but that of  a liberal:

Gabbay elaborated on his comments on Tuesday, saying that "we must not look at the evacuation of 80,000 Jews casually."
One rock-solid rule of modern international law is the illegality of the forcible transfer of populations except for extreme security reasons. In almost all circumstances, forcibly transferring a group of people against their will is regarded as a war crime, the only exception being for security reasons.

Among the many international instruments against forced transfer:
Pursuant to Article 7(1)(d) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[d]eportation or forcible transfer of the population”, “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,” constitutes a crime against humanity.

Under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[u]nlawful deportation or transfer” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Under Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[o]rdering the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand”, constitutes a war crime in non-international armed conflicts.

Article 3(1)(a) of the 2009 Kampala Convention provides that States Parties shall: “[r]efrain from, prohibit and prevent arbitrary displacement of populations”.
States Parties shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to the arbitrary displacement of persons. [P]rohibited categories of arbitrary displacement include but are not limited to: b. Individual or mass displacement of civilians in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand, in accordance with international humanitarian law;h. Displacement caused by any act, event, fact or phenomenon of comparable gravity … and which is not justified under international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law. 

The 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide:
Principle 5All authorities and international actors shall respect and ensure respect for their obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, in all circumstances, so as to prevent and avoid conditions that might lead to displacement of persons.Principle 61. Every human being shall have the right to be protected against being arbitrarily displaced from his or her home or place of habitual residence.2. The prohibition of arbitrary displacement includes displacement:(b) in situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;

The right of people to continue to live where they have lived is considered in nearly all circumstances to be sacred under international law, and under international humanitarian law, the only real exception being  for urgent security reasons.

No one, and I mean no one, demands that populations be forcibly removed from occupied territories in Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974; Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1975; Armenia’s occupation of parts of Azerbaijan including Nagorno-Karabakh since 1994; Russia’s occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2008; and Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea since 2014. In fact, the human rights of "settlers" is considered obvious in all cases - except Israelis. 

It is self-evident that forcibly removing populations is inconsistent with modern, liberal interpretations of international law. The previously accepted "population transfers" from the first half of the twentieth century (for example, India/Pakistan) are no longer considered to be legal by anyone.

Gabbay's statement was not "rightist"- it was liberal and entirely consistent with the Labor Party's leftist philosophy.

The so-called liberals who are upset at Gabbay are the ones who are advocating a policy that is reminiscent of fascism. Anyone who cares about human rights cannot create an exception for a single group of people, and all those who criticize him for his statements from the Left are simply hypocrites.





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