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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
10 January 2012
THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF ISRAELI
الأثر الإنساني للسياسات المتعلقة بالمستوطنات الإسرائيلية
1. Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory. This illegality has been confirmed by the International Court of Justice, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations Security Council.
2. Seizure of land for settlement building and future expansion has resulted in the shrinking of space available for Palestinians to sustain their livelihoods and develop adequate housing, basic infrastructure and services. Settlement expansion plans have led to extensive demolitions of Palestinian homes and the forcible displacement of people.
3. The failure to respect international law, along with the lack of adequate law enforcement vis-à-vis settler violence and takeover of land has led to a state of impunity, which encourages further violence and undermines the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinians. Those protesting settlement expansion or access restrictions imposed for the benefit of settlements (including the Barrier) are regularly exposed to injury and arrest by Israeli forces.
4. Israeli civil law is de facto applied to all settlers and settlements across the occupied West Bank, while Israeli military law is applied to Palestinians, except in East Jerusalem, which was officially annexed to Israel. As a result, two separate legal systems and sets of rights are applied by the same authority in the same area, depending on the national origin of the persons, discriminating against Palestinians.
5. Continuing settlement construction, expansion and encroachment on Palestinian land is an integral part of the ongoing fragmentation of the West Bank, including the isolation of East Jerusalem. This fragmentation undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which is to be realized with the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel.
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