'Law of the jungle': Amnesty slams Israel's unlawful West Bank annexation plans

'Law of the jungle': Amnesty slams Israel's unlawful West Bank annexation plans
Israeli authorities are promoting 'law of the jungle' with their illegal plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, Amnesty International warned on Tuesday.
3 min read
01 July, 2020
Amnesty described the planned move as a violation of international law [Getty]

Amnesty International has slammed Israel’s controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank territories as a “war crime”, accusing Israeli authorities of engaging in outdated “laws of the jungle”.

The leading rights organisation called on world powers to swiftly intervene to take firm action against the annexation proposals and illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory.

“International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful. Israel’s continued pursuit of this policy further illustrates its cynical disregard for international law," said Saleh Higazi, deputy regional director for Amnesty Middle East and North Africa.

"Such policies do not change the legal status of the territory under international law and its inhabitants as occupied nor remove Israel’s responsibilities as the occupying power – rather it points to the ‘law of the jungle’ which should not have a place in our world today,” Higazi added.

“Members of the international community must enforce international law and restate that ‘annexation’ of any part of the occupied West Bank is null and void. They must also work to immediately stop the construction or expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and related infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a first step towards removing Israeli civilians living in such settlements,” the Amnesty statement added.

The rights organisation went further in explaining the illegality of the move, describing srael’s attempts of transferring its civilians into the occupied territory as “a war crime” according to international law.

“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, the statement noted. It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory,” Amnesty noted, quoting the law.

“Settlements are created with the sole purpose of permanently establishing Jewish Israelis on occupied land; this is a war crime under international law and “annexation” has no bearing on this legal determination,” Saleh Higazi added.

Around 430,000 Israeli settlers now live alongside more than three million Palestinians in the West Bank, which many Israelis see as rightfully theirs due to bibilical and historical connections to the land.

Annexation is just one part of Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century", which also calls for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state, largely encircled by Israel, with a capital outside of Jerusalem, going against the demands of Palestinians and the international community.

The so-called "Deal of the Century" put forward by President Donald Trump earlier this year allows Israel to seize most settlements and the Jordan Valley, a fertile and strategic strip of land located along the border with Jordan.

Together, these territories make up around a third of the West Bank.

Read also: Explainer: All you need to know about Israel's Trump-backed annexation plan for the West Bank

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security.

Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

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