About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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According to reports in the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz of 20 December 1984, a plan for the establishment of a national road grid for the entire area of the occupied Nest Bank was promulgated recently by the occupying authorities.
A recent study prepared by Law in the Service of Man, a West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, provides a thorough analysis of the project and is enclosed for your information (see annex). 1/
According to the study, the scheme, designated "Road Plan 50", provides for 555 km of new roads in the Nest Bank that will create an east-west grid (in contrast to the existing north-south grid) and will thus greatly increase integration of the Nest Bank road system into that of Israel.
It is estimated that the construction of these new roads will entail the seisure of 78,000 dunums 2/ of private Palestinian land by the military authorities and that large areas of cultivated land, as well as refugee camps, will be bulldozed. The plan will also entail the destruction of various buildings and facilities (irrigation and other protects, private houses, schools and factories).
The study recalls that, beginning in 1970, the Israeli Government had already expropriated thousands of dunums of land in the occupied territories for the construction of east-west roads with Israel.
The study mentions that the plan was the subject of judicial review before the Israeli High Court of Justice which, under the present system imposed on the West Bank, is the court of last resort for appeals against the activities of the military authorities. The Court rejected the appeal, expressing the opinion that the plan is in the interest of the local population.
However, the study points out that the proposed system will serve none of the 20 major Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank, but will skirt around them, cutting them off from municipal land earmarked for development or from land now in agricultural use on which the towns are dependent. In no case have any of the inhabitants of the land through which the proposed roads will pass been consulted about this scheme.
The study concludes that the plan must therefore be seen as the most significant step of recent times towards Israel's eventual annexation of the West Bank as well as a direct physical threat to the lands, communities and livelihood of the Palestinian population, thus serving the purpose of encouraging their emigration. The conclusion of the study calls for a request to be addressed to the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion that the new plan is in violation of international law.
On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I wish, in the light of the above, to express utmost concern at this new step taken by the Government of Israel towards annexation of the West Bank, which in the Committee's view is yet another grave violation of Palestinian rights, with ominous implications for the future of the occupied territories and for international efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution of the question.
May I recall once again. Sir, that both the General Assembly and the Security Council have repeatedly condemned measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the occupied territories. The Security Council in particular, by resolution 465 (1980), has declared that such measures have no legal validity and are in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as constituting a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and has called on Israel to rescind them.
In conclusion, I would like to request that this letter, together with the enclosed study, be circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under the item entitled "Question of Palestine", and of the Security Council.
1/ The annex is available in English only.
2/ One dunum = approximately 1,000 sq.m.
ISRAELI PROPOSED ROAD PLAN FOR THE WEST BANK
A Question for the International Court of Justice