A proposed Israeli law to effectively annex West Bank settlements to Jerusalem municipality violates international humanitarian law, according to legal rights centre Adalah.
The bill would annex West Bank settlements Beitar Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, and Efrat to Jerusalem, and impose Israeli civilian rule on territory under military occupation.
Adalah has urged the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to oppose the “Jerusalem and its Daughters” law, which would annex a ring of West Bank settlements to Israel’s Jerusalem municipality “and impose Israeli civil law in these occupied territories”.
Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara stressed that the bill violates international humanitarian law, describing this “large-scale confiscation of property belonging to a protected population” as “a gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
“This bill allows the seizure of occupied territory, a change in the designation of this land, and the establishment of new facts on the ground which alter the laws that apply to these areas. It would cut off these areas from the rest of the West Bank, violate the right of Palestinian residents to make full use of their land, and limit freedom of movement and access for Palestinian residents.”
The Adalah letter continued: “According to international law, sovereignty should remain in the hands of the local population and administration in the hands of a military commander.”
It is forbidden to violate the integrity of occupied territory and, furthermore, it is forbidden to annex occupied territory and subject it to the civilian rule of an occupying power.