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Israel has accelerated its apartheid practices in Hebron says B'Tselem in letter to ICC

International Criminal Court building in The Hague on 30 July, 2016 in the Hague, Netherlands [Michel Porro/Getty Images]
International Criminal Court building in The Hague on 30 July, 2016 in the Hague, Netherlands [Michel Porro/Getty Images]

Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, earlier this week, requesting his urgent intervention to stop the expulsion of Palestinian communities from their homes and lands in the south-west of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Israel is currently working to expel about 1,000 Palestinians from the territory and destroy their communities. The Occupation State has been trying to drive these communities out for decades, but has recently escalated its repression in its scope, severity and frequency, said B'Tselem in a letter to ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, requesting his intervention.

"We request your urgent intervention to prevent Israel from continuing to carry out this

policy and clarify to the Government of Israel that the forcible transfer of residents from

their homes – either directly or through the establishment of a coercive environment –

constitutes a war crime under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the Rome Statute," said the letter.

The drive to expel Palestinians from Hebron escalated following a ruling in May by Israel's Supreme Court. B'Tselem says that the ruling contravened international law provisions and basic moral principles by reaching the conclusion that the residents have no right to live on the land and there is no legal impediment to expelling them.

READ: Palestinian civil society must be protected against 'rogue state' Israel, say NGOs

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Israel has escalated what B'Tselem describes as "measures it [Israel] uses to commit a war crime and try and drive the communities out". Israel, for instance, has stepped up its efforts to cut off residents from their lifelines, making it increasingly difficult for them to reach the nearest major town. The army has placed roadblocks on major routes and in-between the Palestinian communities, and soldiers confiscate residents' vehicles using various excuses. The Occupation State has made it virtually impossible to move about.

The "goal", says B'Tselem, is to expel Palestinians and transfer the land to Jews. "The Israeli apartheid regime, which controls the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, operates on the notion that land is a resource meant to benefit the Jewish population only; accordingly, it works to take over more and more land", the letter said.

"The same policy is in action also in the South Hebron Hills, where Israel has been trying to take over land for many years and designate it for Jewish use", B'Tselem added. The letter cited examples of how Israel is seeking to preserve Jewish domination over all other ethnic groups living in historic Palestine and the way in which the Occupation State is "moving forward with war crime".

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B'TselemICCInternational OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestine
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