Jerusalem24 – The Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem ruled yesterday Wednesday on the legality of longstanding eviction orders for Masafer Yatta in the southern Hebron hills, after rejecting the residents’ petition.
The ruling which was quietly published on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day declared that the prohibition of forced transfer set in international law is non-binding in a domestic court. As such, the Palestinian residents’ proceedings have ended after 23 years of living in a declared “firing zone.”
Palestinian Journalist Basil Adra, who has been covering the struggle against the eviction of the Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, took to Twitter to express his frustration.
The occupation court just decided: My community will be destroyed. I live in Massafer Yatta, Palestine. An unjust 23 year long trial ended today with a verdict of mass eviction. The army can now place us on trucks, 2,400 people, and expel us from our ancient villages, one by one. pic.twitter.com/8szt0OdPdf
— Basel Adra (@basel_adra) May 5, 2022
Israeli Human Rights Lawyer Michael Sfard meanwhile derided the court’s decision in a Twitter thread in which he stated that “[the] rationale denying that the prohibition on forced transfer is customary law is nothing less than an embarrassing legal error.”
Beyond the fact that this is a cruel decision that could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, this rationale denying that the prohibition on forced transfer is customary law is nothing less than an embarrassing legal error. So basic that it can be said that its equivalent
— Michael Sfard מיכאל ספרד (@sfardm) May 5, 2022
In his analysis, Sfard exclaims that the prohibition of forced transfer could be “one of the oldest in the prohibitions of modern war laws,” citing an example from the American Civil war when at the request of Abraham Lincoln, Francis Lieber formulated a draft code that prohibited “the removal of civilians to remote areas.”
The ruling passed by Judge David Mintz will threaten 8 Palestinian communities which are home to around 2400 People. Mintz himself is a settler living in the Dolev Settlement, northwest of Ramallah.