Jerusalem24 – Premiere Urgence Internationale issued a report this week regarding Israel’s “de facto annexation” of the West Bank. The report presents the adverse effects Israeli policy and actions have on the Palestinians. Below you can find the report.
De Facto Annexation and the Coercive Environment in the West Bank
The de facto annexation of large parts of the West Bank by Israel and the forcible transfer of Palestinians, has been enabled through the creation of a highly coercive environment. This environment is reinforced through the systematic denial of Palestinian rights, structural barriers to Palestinian development, widespread violence, chronic mental health and psychosocial needs and a lack of accountability for violations of international law.
Settlements Expansion and Settlers violence
In Area C of the West Bank, settlers represent 13.8% of the population (approximately 422,000 settlers). The settler population has more than quadrupled since 2000. (Data B’Tselem)
Settlement expansion is central to the de facto annexation of large parts of the West Bank. Settlement expansion has led to increased settler violence and breaches of Palestinian rights, including restricted freedom of movement, exacerbating the coercive environment and resulting in the forcible transfer of Palestinians.
Israel, as the occupying power, is prohibited by international law from transferring members of its own population into territory it occupies. Such transfers are a grave breach of the Geneva Convention and constitute a war crime under the statute of the International Criminal Court.
In 2021, as of September 30, settlers have killed three Palestinians and injured 127. Settlers have also vandalized 8121 trees, that is an average of 90 Palestinian trees damaged per month and damaged more than one car every second day.
Deteriorating Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing
Community members face constant distress, pressure and a general feeling that their lives and the lives of their loved ones are being threatened-coupled with a continuous threat to their livelihoods, safety, personal belongings and assets.
This prolonged feeling of insecurity, fear and instability as well as an established feeling of injustice and discrimination against them. Resulting in repeated traumas that affect the psychological wellbeing and mental health of individuals, old and young at various levels.
Communities who are facing continuous attacks suffer not only from a deterioration of their living conditions and of their psychosocial and physical well-being but also it increases the risk of forcible displacement when the situation has become unbearable.
The International Community Must
- Call for Israel to stop transferring its own population to the West Bank, which is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may engage individual criminal responsibility.
- Require Israel to immediately cease and reverse settlement construction and expansion, make guarantees of non-repetition and provide full reparations.
- Publicly denounce and refer to an ongoing “de facto” annexation and the risk of forcible transfer faced by communities.
- Require Israel to immediately cease demolitions (including destruction of humanitarian assistance), make guarantees of non-repetition and provide full reparations.
- Explicitly highlight in all relevant communications that both the extensive destruction of property by an occupying power, absent military necessity and forcible transfer constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and may also engage individual criminal responsibility.
- Take effective measures beyond public statement to stop the construction and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and to get reparations on demolished donors funded structures and to halt demolitions and forcible transfer.