EAPPI ACTION APPEAL: Act Now to Prevent Settlement Expansion & Violence in Hebron
Palestinian property owners in Hebron are forced into a transaction that they do not want to be a part of. Take action.
Summary of Events
On 11 March 2014, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a Palestinian appeal for ownership of Al Rajabi building in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The building is situated in a valley at the southern entrance of the Kiryat Arba settlement, in a strategic location that could link this Israeli settlement to five other nearby settlements around Hebron’s Old City. If settlers are allowed to move into the building, it is expected that there will be a significant increase in movement and access restrictions, and settler violence towards Palestinians.
The court ruled that the buyers, the ‘Tal Building and Investments, Karnei Shomron’, must pay the Palestinian owners, Abdelkader Salwar and Faiz Rajabi a fee of $217,000.00 USD by 11 April 2014 in order to legally claim ownership of the building. The owners are now forced into a transaction that they do not want to be a part of, and it is believed that the buying party will furnish the figure above in a timely manner, as it is a nominal fee for the strategic gains inherent in acquiring the property.
Yet, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has stated that settlers cannot inhabit the house until security forces prepared a safety program for it.
As all legal means to prevent transfer of ownership have been exhausted without success, it is now time to exert diplomatic pressure on the Government of Israel, in particular its defense establishment to inevitably delay the population of the building by settlers as a means to prevent the negative humanitarian impacts that will likely result from such a move.
Malachi Levinger, Head of the Kiryat Arba Local Council, has already called on Israel’s Minister of Defense to ensure the “immediate population of the house.”
Although the settlers’ acquisition of the Al Rajabi Building is legal according to Israeli law, it is indeed illegal under Internal law, most notably:
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
Make a difference
We encourage you to:
- Forward this alert to your networks
- Inform your representative in parliament & media agencies about what is happening in Hebron
- Contact the following officials and call on them to demand that settlers be prohibited from residing in the Al Rajabi Building.
- Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel
- The Israeli Ambassador in your country
- Israeli Minister of Defense:
- Israeli Military Advocate General:
Major General Danny Efroni
Fax: +972.3.569.4526 / +972.3.608.0366
- Israeli Military Chief of Staff
Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz
Fax: +972.3.691.6940 / +972.697.6218
You may use the sample letter below or draft your own:
Mr. Ambassador / Consul General / Defense Minister / Judge Advocate General, Chief of Staff,
I am writing you in light of a decision by the Supreme Court of Israel on 11 March 2014, which ruled that ownership of the Al Rajabi Building in the West Bank City of Hebron be transferred to the Tal Building and Investments, Karnei Shomron group, an Israeli settler organization.
The situation in the City of Hebron is already tense and the handing over of the building to settlers would only serve to increase the tension in the area, and will endanger the lives and property of Palestinians residents, threatening the relative peace that has been upheld since the removal of settlers from the building by the Israeli military in 2008.
The Supreme Court of Israel’s decision contradicts Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states that; “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
The ruling is also a violation of Article 23 of The Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
I implore you to [call upon your Israeli counterpart(s) to] actively work to prevent the handover of the Al Rajabi Building to Israeli settlers.