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Israel’s legalization of forced population transfer in Masafer Yatta an “embarassing legal error”

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.

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.”

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.

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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