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Israels Attempts to Unilaterally Set Borders Violate International Law

Monday, 11 October 2010 15:48
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AL-HAQ PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REF: 9.2006E
16 March 2006

Al-Haq is gravely concerned by recent Israeli announcements and actions aiming to unilaterally determine the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state. On 14 March 2006, Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that the Ariel settlement built in the heart of the West Bank is a "part of Israel." The same day, construction of a police station began in the E-1 area located between Occupied East Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, with the purpose of creating territorial contiguity between the two.

Both Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim are to be included on the western side of the Annexation Wall. On 8 March 2006, Ehud Olmert declared that, with some minor adjustments to its route, the Wall will "become the country's border in accordance with the country's interests." In addition, Olmert referred to the Jordan Valley as "Israel's eastern border," indicating the motivation behind Israel's recently increased movement restrictions on Palestinians and land confiscation in the Jordan Valley.

These developments confirm Israel's longstanding intention to annex additional areas of the West Bank. The context of electoral campaigning in Israel, as well as the Governments declared intent to withdraw unilaterally and partially from some areas of the West Bank, should not obscure the fundamental illegality of all measures amounting to annexation.

As Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides, "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." The construction of a police station in the E-1 area is a likely prelude to the arrival of Israeli settlers, a process which typically results in the creation of settlements such as Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim. Israeli authorities insist on annexing such settlements to Israel, in clear contradiction of the international legal prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force, as recalled by UN Security Council Resolution 242.

The Israeli Government's measures to unilaterally set the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state along the route of the Wall contravene this prohibition. Indeed, as the International Court of Justice noted in its Advisory Opinion on the construction of the Wall in the OPT, if the Wall were to become permanent, it would amount to de facto annexation. Without a doubt, what the Court anticipated is becoming a tangible reality, through the continued construction of settlements and the Wall annexing them from the rest of the West Bank.

Al-Haq stresses that these measures are illegal and consequently null and void under international law. As such, they may not serve to determine the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state. The international community must not recognise any such measures and should emphasise their illegality to the Israeli authorities. Al-Haq believes that the UN General Assembly should reconvene the Tenth Emergency Special Session to take appropriate measures in response to these Israeli actions which blatantly violate international law as restated by the International Court of Justice in the Advisory Opinion. The international community must recognise that only the full implementation of international law can lead to a just and durable solution to the conflict in the area.

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