Israeli regulations authorize mass expulsion of Palestinians

The military will be allowed to imprison or deport anyone in the West Bank without the proper papers

Published April 12, 2010 2:13PM (EDT)

New Israeli regulations allow authorities potentially to imprison or expel from the West Bank tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The Israeli right has long favored "transfer" (i.e. ethnic cleansing) as a means of dealing both with Palestinian-Israelis and with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Given the extreme-right character of the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, it is no cause for wonder that practical steps are now being taken toward expulsions and deportations of anyone who even peacefully opposes the government’s systematic colonization of the West Bank.

The Guardian summarizes objections of Israeli peace groups who complain that "Palestinians, and any foreigners living in the West Bank," would be liable to deportation within 72 hours if they lack the right permit. "Valid permit" is not defined by the Israelis.

Rory McCarthy writes,

The orders … are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants," said the 10 rights groups, which include Ha-Moked, B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Until now the vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have not been required to hold a permit just to be present in their homes, the groups say.

The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 requires two things of Israel, the occupying power in the Palestinian West Bank:

Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive . . . The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Al-Jazeera English has a video report:

Meanwhile, Palestinians have begun a petition drive to collect a million signatures asking President Obama to end their occupation. There is an increasing push among Palestinians to simply declare statehood within the next year or two, in hopes of forestalling the complete destruction by the Israelis of Palestinian nationhood.

By Juan Cole

Juan Cole is collegiate professor of history at the University of Michigan. He runs a news and commentary webzine on U.S. foreign policy and progressive politics, Informed Comment. His new book, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires (Nation Books), has just been published.


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