Palestinian schoolchildren make their way to school as Israeli soldiers stand guard, in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [Mussa Qawasma/Reuters file]
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has strongly condemned this week an Israeli decision to seize Palestinian land tracts near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the southern occupied West Bank city of AlKhalil.
The Ministry condemned in the strongest terms the land grab initiative announced by Israel’s Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennett, in favor of a settlement project.
Bennet decided to expropriate Palestinian land in the Old City of AlKhalil to construct a road for Israelis living in and around the area in an attempt to smooth their access to the mosque area.
An elevator will also be established for the settlers in what the ministry said is an attempt to change the Arab and Islamic character of the mosque.
The Ministry further warned that Israel has taken profit from the coronavirus outbreak in order to implement its land grab policies.
The Ministry vowed to take legal action against such illegal settlement activities and will file a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court.
The international community widely considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal on one of two bases: that they are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, or that they are in breach of international declarations.
Numerous UN resolutions and prevailing international opinion hold that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979, 1980, and 2016. UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention as the applicable international legal instrument, and calls upon Israel to desist from transferring its own population into the territories or changing their demographic makeup.
126 Representatives at the reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions in 2014 declared the settlements illegal as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross.