Global Rights Watch organisation (GRW), organised an online seminar on the confiscation of Palestinian lands by the Israeli authorities, as well as their violation of the rights of Palestinians guaranteed under international law.
The seminar was held on February 21, 2022, at 6:00 pm, with the participation of experts and human rights activists who discussed over seven decades of Palestinian land theft, as well as enacting racist laws to legalise the crimes of the occupation.
Speakers were lawyer Ayed Marar -from the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission, lawyer Bassam Karajeh -Director of the legal unit at the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, and Mr. Issam Al-Arouri – Director of the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid.
Mr. Ayed Marar, spoke about the policies pursued by the occupation authorities to seize Palestinian lands, as well as the size of the seized lands.
He pointed out that the occupation uses articles of the international law to achieve its goals, such as declaring lands as state lands and registering them as one, as well as using the old Ottoman law, and seizing lands for military reasons in violation of the international laws.
The Israeli occupation has seized more than two million acres in the West Bank, in a flagrant violation of international laws, and amid complete silence of the international community.
The international law prohibits the occupying country from applying its laws on the land it occupied; therefore, the occupation authorities used customary international law and Jordanian law to confiscate lands for military purposes.
The occupation authorities also resorted to the Ottoman law, legislated in 1885, whereby the lands are divided into 3 sections: 1- registered lands that may not be confiscated by all means (30% of the lands of the West Bank are registered lands, and the rest are not registered), where the Palestinian citizen is a disposer of the property, but not an owner. 2- State lands that fall under Jordanian law, which was permanently confiscated as state land. 3-Lands purchased through a broker who impersonates or threatens citizens, forges papers where owners cannot prove their ownership of the lands, which gets seized this way.
Mr. Bassam Karajeh stressed that the Israeli authorities refuse to grant Palestinians building permits in large parts of the West Bank, which forced Palestinians to leave their homes, in what amounts to forced displacement, in addition to depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their relatives of residency permits, under the pretext of being abroad at the beginning of the occupation in 1967.
Moreover, the occupation authorities imposed arbitrary measures depriving the Palestinians of accessing their water, lands and other resources, limiting their economic growth, and violating their economic and social rights.
The occupying authority has also divided the lands into central, north and south, while enacting laws that make it almost impossible to apply the conditions put forward for land construction.
It also carried out ethnic cleansing, demolished homes, prevented the construction of public facilities, and empties the area of Palestinians, in addition to deporting Palestinians from Bedouin areas such as Khan Al-Ahmar, in order to implement the Jerusalem grand settlement scheme.
After 1967, the occupation authorities issued laws aimed at emptying the West Bank of all Palestinians, by refusing to renew passports for those who travel for more than 3 years, in addition to other laws that impede entry to the West Bank.
Mr. Issam Al-Arouri, discussed the legality of the settlements, while pointing out to the numerous resolutions of the United Nations, which affirm that the Israeli settlements constitute a violation of international law.
Mr. Arouri referred to the Amnesty International report, which emphasised that Israelis use a policy of apartheid in building settlements, as they have turned the West Bank about 360 islands infiltrated with settlements, whose residents cannot communicate with each other or cross without permission from the Israelis.
He also pointed out that the international humanitarian law prevents the occupying country from transferring its citizens to the areas it occupied, according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
He stressed that the occupation authorities disregard and breach the international laws, as the Hague regulations prohibit the occupying country from making permanent changes in the occupied territories, with the exception of changes necessary for military needs or for the benefit of the local population, but it continues to do so under the world’s nose.
– Activating the role of the United Nations, calling on Israel to abide by international laws and conventions and stopping the building of settlements, and returning the occupied lands to its owners.
– Calling on concerned international organisations to play their role effectively, and to work on ending settlements immediately.
– Activating the role of the media and cooperation with legal organisations and human rights defenders to expose the crimes of land theft, and deliver the suffering of Palestinians to the international community.