Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Human Rights Watch issued a report:

The Israeli military unlawfully demolished at least 39 structures in Bedouin Palestinian communities in the West Bank on August 17 and 18, 2015. The demolitions left 126 people homeless, 80 of them children. Four of the communities where the demolitions took place are targeted by an Israeli government plan to forcibly “relocate” 7,000 Bedouin.

Such destruction of private Palestinian property and the forcible transfer of Palestinians violate Israel’s human rights obligations and the laws of occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from destroying private property or forcibly transferring the protected population unless strictly necessary for military reasons. Israel does not claim the demolitions or planned relocations are justified for military reasons.
B'Tselem also says that this is against international humanitarian law. The UN had stated that previously and I fisked that UN statement.

What does international law say?

For the purposes of this post, we will assume that Israel is occupying Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is the legal basis of Israel's Supreme Court decisions, even though it never ruled on that question specifically.

The law prohibiting confiscating private property comes from the Hague Conventon IV article 46, which states flatly "Private property cannot be confiscated."

But these buildings weren't built on private property. They were illegally built on public state lands.

What does the Hague Convention say about the legal obligations of an occupying power?

That is in article 43:
The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
Under international law, Israel must do everything possible to respect the laws that were in place before the occupation - meaning the laws from the previous Jordanian and British and Ottoman governments.

And under none of those sets of laws would illegal building on state be considered to magically become private property and protected under the law from being demolished. That idea is nonsensical; Imagine what the New York City government would do if people built buildings in Central Park and then claimed to be homeless and forced to relocate when they were demolished.

HRW is clearly and knowingly lying when they use the "private property" argument.

B'Tselem is a bit more knowledgeable about international law than Human Rights Watch and doesn't try to use HRW's clearly incorrect legal reasoning. Instead, it only argues HRW's second reason, saying that "These expulsion plans run counter to the provisions of international humanitarian law, which prohibit the forcible transfer of protected persons, unless carried out for their own protection or for an imperative military need." But again it is absurd to say that legally demolishing buildings built without permits is "forcible transfer." On the contrary, it is enforcing the law. The alternative is to give anyone the right to squat on public lands, which is clearly absurd.

There are exceptions where the occupier may override pre-existing laws for security or other purposes, for example to strike down pre-existing laws that violate human rights or otherwise contradict the provisions of "public order and safety." The full extent of that permission is argued by various legal scholars. But as far as I can tell, no one says that Israel is mandated to change existing Ottoman/British land and zoning laws - and to do so without good reason would be a violation of international law! 

Yet this is exactly what these NGOs are demanding that Israel do - to uproot or ignore pre-existing land laws.

Perhaps these organizations have a point in that Israel is not enforcing the pre-existing laws equally between Jews and Arabs in Judea and Samaria. In this particular case, however, the illegal squatters on state land never even bothered to submit applications for building permits or to submit a master plan for rezoning areas for residential use. The reason, of course, is because these structures were meant as a land grab and not as a declaration of private property rights. The Bedouin knew very well that their buildings were illegal, and Jews who would build random structures on state land would be treated the same way.

Yet even if  you claim that Israel's application of zoning laws is not done evenly, "it's not fair" is not a principle of international law that is being violated.

One argument that may be made in favor of Israel's changing the zoning laws could perhaps come from an expansive reading of "public order and safety" in the Hague Conventions, a reading that Israel's Supreme Court in fact has used, translating the original French "la vie publique" as ‘civil life’ which is much more than "public order." Yet even then, that does not mean that Israel is obligated to go so far as to change existing laws. As legal scholar Marco Sasson writes:

Under the general rule, as its qualifications ‘all measures in his power’ and ‘as far as possible’ confirm, public order and civil life are not results that must be guaranteed by an occupying power, but only aims it must pursue with all available, lawful and proportionate means. One may argue that the required standard of action is below that with which human rights instruments expect states to comply in fulfilling human rights, in particular social, economic and cultural rights, since, as discussed below, the occupying power is not sovereign and its legislative powers are limited.
There is obviously a tension between the Hague provisions to ensure public order and civil life and to "respect, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country." But to demand that the latter, written in very strong language, trumps the former, and not doing so is a violation of international law, is clearly wrong.

The UN, B'Tselem and HRW are not telling the truth about international law, and they are twisting it deliberately to target Israel.

 (Israel's Supreme Court does not recognize forcible transfers within occupied territory to be against the Geneva Conventions prohibition on "forcible transfer," but the ICRC does, so we will not argue that point here.)

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive