St. Yves warns against “Settlement Legalisation” Bill

The Israeli Knesset approved the initial reading of the “illegal settlement legalization” bill in the West Bank presented by the Israeli right-wing lawmakers on the 16th of November 2016. This bill aims at retroactively legalizing illegal settlements on privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank in area C, also enabling  Israeli authorities to confiscate Palestinian Land in order to build other settlements, this means Israeli law will be used in the West Bank which violates International law.

This bill comes immediately after the Israeli Supreme court ruled in favor of evacuating settlers from the illegal outpost of “Amona” that was built on privately-owned Palestinian land before the 25th of December 2016.

The Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights warns against this alarming bill and highlights the grave consequences of adopting such a bill which would be making all retroactive and future settlements entirely legal. This would directly increase home and structure demolitions, also increasing Palestinian land confiscation and the evacuation of Palestinians form their land for the benefit of settlement expansion, and under Israeli formal policy on the legal, political and judicial levels.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat threatened that any dismantlement of the illegal Israeli outpost “Amona” would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking Israeli building permits in occupied East Jerusalem in particular. St. Yves has been observing the severe increase in house demolitions, as it is currently handling 1000 house demolition cases in the West Bank area C and in East Jerusalem. St. Yves is also observing a bad faith attitude within the Israeli civil administration committee, indirectly aiming at executing dozens of demolitions in these areas.

This bill and such related policies are a clear breach of International law, including the fourth Geneva Convention and Rome statute in which settlements amounts to a war crime. The Society of St. Yves calls on the international community to respond immediately to this bill and exert pressure on Israel to halt its adoption.

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