Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Israel to stop the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the occupied lands, calling the move discriminatory, illegal and a war crime.
The rights body said that the Israeli military is illegally forcing 23 Palestinians, including 15 children, from three families to leave their homes near a West Bank settlement.
“No Israeli authority, including the High Court of Justice, has justified this displacement as being a temporary measure for the protection of the residents themselves or for imperative military reasons. Under these circumstances, displacing the families would not only be discriminatory, but also a grave breach of Israel’s obligations as the occupying power, and a war crime,” HRW said in a statement on Friday.
Israel’s High Court of Justice on December 3, 2013, rejected a petition against the evictions and held that the military could evict the families on or after January 3, 2014. It did not refer to any of Israel’s duties under international human rights law or the law of occupation
“Israel’s military is ushering in 2014 by forcing more Palestinian families out of their homes,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
In 2013, Israel forcibly displaced more than 1,100 Palestinians from the West Bank and demolished their homes.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.