Amnesty International in a press release has slammed Israel’s controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank territories as a “war crime” under international law, warning that Israel’s move represents the “law of the jungle.”
Amnesty called on the International Community to take firm action against the annexation proposal and illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied territories.
“International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful. Israel’s continued pursuit of this police further illustrates its cynical disregard for International law. Such policies do not change the legal status of the territory under international law and its inhabitants as occupied nor remove Israel’s responsibilities as the occupying power – rather it points to the ‘law of the jungle’ which should not have a place in our world today,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy regional director for Amnesty Middle East and North Africa.
“Members of the international community must enforce international law and restate that ‘annexation’ of any part of the occupied West Bank is null and void. They must also work to immediately stop the construction or expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and related infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a first step towards removing Israeli civilians living in such settlements,” Higazi added, “Settlements are created with the sole purpose of permanently establishing Jewish Israelis on occupied land; this is a war crime under international law and ‘annexation’ has no bearing on this legal determination.”
UK government said, a few days ago, it “strongly opposes” annexation. According to Amnesty’s statement, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, urged the UK minister to be more “clear that rogue behavior from Israel of this magnitude needs a resounding response,” as UK ministers have always been saying they oppose annexation as they’ve always said they opposed the settlements.
Amnesty went further in explaining Israel’s illegal move, describing srael’s attempts of transferring its civilians into the occupied territory as “a war crime” according to international law.
“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, the statement noted. It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory,” Amnesty noted, quoting Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
“Settlements are created with the sole purpose of permanently establishing Jewish Israelis on occupied land; this is a war crime under international law and “annexation” has no bearing on this legal determination,” Saleh Higazi added.
The West Bank is occupied nowadays by around 430,000 Israeli settlers who live in 132 settlements.
Annexation is just one part of Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century“, which also calls for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state, largely encircled by Israel, with a capital outside of Jerusalem, going against the demands of Palestinians and the international community.
The so-called “Deal of the Century” put forward by President Donald Trump earlier this year allows Israel to seize most settlements and the Jordan Valley, a fertile and strategic strip of land located along the border with Jordan.
Together, these territories make up around a third of the West Bank.
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.
Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B’s administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security.
Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.