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international law

  • The myth of the Gaza 'border'

    The Green Line disguises the fact that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer being oppressed outside the Israeli state, but are being caged and brutalized inside it. Palestinian activists have long criticized the use of the word “border” to describe the 1949 armistice line that divides Gaza and Israel, and which protestors in the Great March of Return have been trying to cross at great risk to life and limb. By invoking the term, Israel insists that its open-fire policy toward the march is part of its legitimate right to defend its sovereignty and security. It further claims that, because…

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  • Demolishing Palestinian schools 'a quiet population transfer'

    By destroying schools in Palestinian villages in Area C and elsewhere, Israel is forcing Palestinians to make a cruel choice — between their land and their children's futures. When the children of Beit Ta’mar, a village south-east of Bethlehem, left their improvised schoolhouse for winter vacation about two weeks ago, they did not know if the building would still be standing when they came back. To call the building a school is to exaggerate. It is comprised of five concrete rooms on the top of a hill, constructed by the village’s residents, who also built the road to the school. [tmwinpost]…

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  • The new 'choice' for asylum seekers: Deportation or prison

    Israel finally plans to close its desert detention facility for African asylum seekers. Refugee advocates worry it could be the start of something even worse. During a midnight vote on Monday, the Knesset passed a bill that will enable the government to detain asylum seekers indefinitely or deport them to an unspecified country in Africa. The law passed by a margin of 71 to 41. [tmwinpost] The consequences of the law will stem not only from what appears in the text of the bill itself, but also what doesn’t: there is nothing in the bill that mentions deportation. Instead, on…

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  • ‘How Israel turned the West Bank into its garbage dump’

    A new report from B’Tselem details how Israel has exploited the legal regime in the West Bank, trucking in hazardous waste to be processed in the occupied territory. Israel is taking advantage of less stringent environmental regulations in the West Bank in order to conduct much of its waste treatment in the occupied territory, according to a new report by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which it describes as a violation of international law. For example, the report found that an estimated 60 percent of all sewage sludge converted into fertilizer in 2015 was processed at a plant in the…

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  • Congress won't allow Palestinians their day in court

    The PLO faces punishment—the closure of its diplomatic office in the U.S.—for seeking justice in the International Criminal Court.  By James J. Zogby Imagine that you are a victim of a violent crime or theft but are forbidden from reporting it because Congress has passed a law that not only prohibits you from reporting the crime, but threatens punishment if you dare to do it. This is the situation in which the Palestinians find themselves today. The Palestinians have been told that the U.S. government is on the verge of decertifying their right to maintain an office in Washington because…

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  • Soldiers testify on how IDF sent asylum seekers back to Egypt

    Despite High Court rulings and official Defense Ministry procedures, Israeli soldiers sent back over 40 asylum seekers to Egypt in June 2015. The IDF top brass tried to cover up the incident. Israeli soldiers turned away two groups of Sudanese asylum seekers crossing into the country in June 2015, sending them back to Egypt in breach of Israel's High Court of Justice, according to a new investigative report by Israel Social TV. New testimonies from the soldiers reveal how the army's top command and the IDF Spokesperson tried to paper over the incident. "I was in the operations room when…

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  • Court to decide fate of Palestinian villages in 'Firing Zone 918'

    Hundreds of Palestinians in the south Hebron hills are living under the fear of imminent displacement because the Israeli army says it wants to conduct live-fire drills on their village lands. Israel's High Court of Justice on Wednesday will hear the case of eight Palestinian villages fighting looming demolition and displacement by the Israeli army in an area the military has designated a live-fire zone. [tmwinpost] The area in question, Firing Zone 918, has become a flashpoint in ongoing Israeli attempts to push smaller, rural Palestinian communities off their land across the West Bank in the past several decades. The…

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  • Airbnb lets you vacation in illegal West Bank settlements

    Fancy a vacation with breathtaking views of the Holy Land? Airbnb will let you rent out luxurious cottages atop barren hilltops, making no mention of the fact that they are in settlements on occupied land. By John Brown* Airbnb, it has come to our attention, enables anyone to rent rooms and vacation homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Anyone who is not of Palestinian descent, of course. Without exception, the listings, some which appear to be luxurious cottages and others that are caravans sitting on barren hilltops, make no mention of the fact that they are in settlements on…

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  • The forced transfer of Palestinian detainees — why it matters

    International law is clear that prisoners should not be transferred outside of an occupied territory — both to allow their families access to them and to prevent forced population transfer. But that's not all that's at stake. By Gerard Horton Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military detention system should be held in facilities located in Palestine, as opposed to Israel, in accordance with international law, UNICEF recommended in its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention (2013). The latest figures released by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) indicate that since UNICEF made this recommendation the percentage of Palestinian children…

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  • Demolishing Palestinian structures is the norm — not the exception

    A sharp increase in demolitions of structures in the West Bank displaces over 120 Palestinians, drawing media attention and a harsh response from the United Nations. Over August 17-18 Israeli authorities demolished around 40 Palestinian structures in the West Bank, displacing over 120 Palestinians. The demolitions were carried out during a record-breaking heat wave that has hit Israel-Palestine over the past week. [tmwinpost] Monday's total of 22 demolitions — in the Ma'ale Adumim area of the West Bank — displaced 78 Palestinians (including 49 children), the highest such number in one day since October 2012. Tuesday saw 17 structures demolished in the…

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  • The oddity of finding hope while investigating war crimes

    +972 speaks with Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, authors of the UNHRC report on potential war crimes in Gaza. The pair discuss possible consequences of the report, and why their investigation gave them hope. By Dahlia Scheindlin and Natasha Roth The main reaction in Israel to the findings of the United Nation’s commission of inquiry into last summer’s Gaza war was rejection. That response tops a process so fraught with politics, that it seemed unlikely the commission would be able to say anything meaningful at all. Israel views the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the body that commissioned the…

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  • Lessons from the UN Gaza report: Next stop, ICC?

    The Human Rights Council's independent inquiry is full of suspicions of war crimes. More important is what it has to say about how Israel investigates those allegations, and what that means for the International Criminal Court. To the relief of Israel and the chagrin of many others, the UN report into last summer’s war in Gaza is not an indictment of Israel. It does not declare conclusively that Israel committed war crimes and it is certainly not one-sided. The Human Rights Council report released on Monday is valuable, nevertheless, when read as a preview of what might transpire in a…

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  • There's no nice way of building settlements in occupied territory

    Those familiar with the system know that as long as settlement construction continues, the abuse and intimidation of the Palestinian civilian population will be maintained. By Gerard Horton UNICEF, the UN body tasked with providing humanitarian aid to children in developing countries, recently issued an update on the progress made regarding the treatment of minors held in Israeli military detention. In its 2013 report, Children in Israeli Military Detention, UNICEF reviewed over 400 sworn testimonies collected from minors who came in contact with Israel's military system, and concluded that ill-treatment “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process,”…

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