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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jerusalem Under Barak The History of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Earliest Times

Jerusalem Unit - January 2001

This Brief is intended to highlight settlement expansion and house demolitions, which occurred in East Jerusalem during the period of Ehud Baraks tenure as Prime Minister of the State of Israel. The Brief is set within the context of international humanitarian law.

For many commentators, the election victory of Ehud Barak in May 1999 was a welcome relief from the nadir that had descended upon the peace process during the period of Benyamin Netanyahus Likud administration (1996-1999). In the minds of many observers of Middle Eastern affairs as well as numerous member states of the international community, Barak, hailing from the Israeli left and following in the professed footsteps of his mentor Yitzhak Rabin, could only be positive for the increasingly defunct Middle East peace process. From July 1999 when Barak took official charge of government, there was a marked improvement in the international standing of Israel, which had suffered a considerable set back due to the Netanyahus administrations negative approach towards the Oslo process.
To date, the height of Israels improved image under Barak, was reached at the Camp David summit in July 2000, which was hosted by U.S. President William Clinton, in order to facilitate a final status agreement between the two sides. All of the outstanding issues of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute were subject to negotiation. Despite marathon negotiation rounds, the summit failed, with Clinton apportioning blame, largely at the feet of Yasser Arafat. Though the two sides failed to reach progress on many of the outstanding issues of the conflict, commentators singled out the issue of Jerusalem, particularly the citys holy sites in the Old City, as the principle stumbling bloc that led to the failure of the summit.
Concerning Jerusalem, according to unconfirmed reports, the Israeli negotiators posited two principle "concessions":

The handing over of East Jerusalems northern suburbs to the Palestinian Authority,

Devolved administration in the central areas of East Jerusalem to Palestinian bodies.
It was also proposed that Israel would divide up the administration of the Old City, with the Palestinian Authority having control over the Muslim and Christian Quarters while Israel would retain control over the Jewish and Armenian Quarters. In all the scenarios discussed, Israel would retain over all sovereignty and security control. Israeli proposals on East Jerusalem were rejected by the Palestinian negotiators.
Though, this was the first time that an Israeli government had been party to negotiations about the future of Jerusalem, a closer look at Baraks proposals illustrated the hollowness of the Israeli "concessions". Barak was effectively offering autonomy to Palestinians in East Jerusalem where de facto autonomy already exists. The noted scholar on Jerusalem, Michael Dumper, is correct in his assessment when he stated that in most Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, the Israeli State is only visible in its restrictive planning laws and in the presence of its security personnel. The Palestinians are already autonomous in such areas as their school curriculum and the administration of the Haram compound. Many Palestinian residents also receive social services from Palestinian bodies like Orient House and many Palestinian officials act as mediators in personal disputes. Moreover, the vast majority of the Citys Palestinian residents get their electrical power from the Palestinian owned East Jerusalem Electrical Company and water in the northern suburbs is supplied by the Ramallah water under taking. Palestinian Authority security operatives are also active in East Jerusalem, with the knowledge of the Israeli authorities. To quote Dumper, "the Israeli concessions are illusionary when measured against the realities on the ground".
What is particularly noteworthy is during the negotiations there was apparently little reference to international law on the part of the Israeli negotiators and the American "mediators" and certainly no acknowledgement of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to The Protection Of Civilian Persons In Time Of War Of August 12, 1949 as a guiding principle. On the issue of Jerusalem, Israel has sovereignty in neither east nor west Jerusalem, merely administrative control, which in East Jerusalem should be governed by the provisions on belligerent occupation which are an integral part of international humanitarian law. It is not for Israel nor the Americans to demand concessions from the Palestinians, rather, it is for Israel to abide by the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and United Nations General Assembly resolution 194.
Nonetheless, Baraks supposed "concessions" were received positively by the international community and this was clearly evident in the reception Barak received at the U.N. Millenium Summit in September 2000. However, this international perception belies a reality that has seen the expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories continue at an alarming rate and the continuation of efforts to strengthen Israeli control over occupied East Jerusalem. Since Barak took office in July 1999, construction has started on an estimated 1,924 new residential units in the Occupied Territories and in the first half of 2000, settlement construction grew by 96%. Even more alarmingly, the Barak administration has already budgeted 292 million US $ for the settlements for the year 2001.
From what can be gathered from statements and from unconfirmed reports concerning Israels negotiating position at Camp David, Barak was committed to winning international acceptance of Israeli sovereignty over the Haram al Sharif and much of East Jerusalem, and was determined to keep Israels strategic control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip including airspace, land borders, settlements and their transport routes to and from Israel. As an example, the settlement of Maale Adumim, which is the largest in the West Bank and which Israel plans to annex as part of a final status agreement, will ensure that Israel will be able to control all traffic between the north and south of the West Bank. Under the proposed agreement at Camp David, large Jewish settlement blocs in the Occupied Territories would be annexed to Israel. Moreover, Baraks supposed "concessions" on Jerusalem would result in the expansion of Jerusalems boundaries deep into Palestinian territory with the annexation of settlements like Givat Zeev to Jerusalem.
Barak, like his immediate Labour party predecessors Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, is attempting to use the Oslo process as a means to consolidate Israeli control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is note worthy that an unprecedented expansion of the settlements occurred during Rabins tenure, particularly in the Jerusalem region. The controversial decision to start construction work on the Har Homa settlement on Jabel Abu Ghneim as well as the expansion of the Maale Adumim settlement, though carried out by the Netanyahu administration, were actually prepared by the previous Labour government.
Moreover, what is particularly striking, is that since the signing of the Declaration of Principles On Interim Self-Government Arrangements in September 1993, there has been a marked increase in the number of settlers residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. At the time of the signing of the accords, the settler population, excluding those residing in East Jerusalem numbered 110,000; in June of 2000 the population had reached 195,000. The settler population in East Jerusalem is at present estimated to be 170,000.
Bearing this in mind, there exists a serious misperception on the part of the international community and many commentators on the role of the Labour party in the peace process. This invariably impacts on the increasingly systematic denial of the most elementary rights of the Palestinian people. An example was the non-meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in June 1999. The meeting came in the wake of the deteriorating peace process under the Netanyahu administration and Israels reluctance to implement in full the Wye River Memorandum of the 23 October 1998. What was particularly significant about the meeting was the intention to focus on ways to force Israel to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, the electoral victory of Barak in May 1999 led to a decision to meet symbolically and not to pursue the conferences original aim. Many of the High Contracting Parties were lukewarm about such a conference and some were vehemently opposed. In the end Baraks victory at the polls and his endless declarations that no stone would be left on turn in the search for peace led to a loss of political will among many of the High Contracting Parties to pursue the original objectives of the conference and hence the symbolic non-meeting.
The outbreak of the Al Aqsa intifada on the 28 September 2000 in the wake of Ariel Sharons visit to the Haram compound only highlighted the sensitivity of the Jerusalem issue in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The conflict that engulfed the region pursuant to Sharons visit to the compound spawned a number of negotiation attempts to de-escalate the volatile situation and return to the final status negotiations. All of these attempts, including the most recent Clinton initiative of early January 2001 have so far failed to resolve the outstanding issues between the parties.
The Clinton initiative touched on many of the outstanding issues in the conflict, including Jerusalem. According to unconfirmed reports, concerning East Jerusalem, Clinton articulated the position that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish areas are Israeli. Apparently, the American formulation provided for formal Palestinian control over the Haram al Sharif and Israeli control over the Wailing Wall. Clintons formulations did not appear to be detailed and no maps were presented to the parties carefully illustrating how the territorial carve up would look on the ground. Israel accepted the proposals while the PLO gave a conditional acceptance to the Americans with an extensive list of reservations. The proposals in question are problematic in many respects. The reference to Israeli areas refers to settlements that have been established in East Jerusalem by Israel. The settlements, coupled with Israels planning policies in the city, has to a large extent destroyed any contiguity between the Arab neighbourhoods. In contrast, the Israeli authorities have invested considerable efforts to create contiguity between the Jewish settlements and Israeli controlled West Jerusalem. Moreover, the annexing of the "Greater Jerusalem" settlements to Israel would have an adverse effect on East Jerusalem and any Palestinian state that emerges on the West Bank as highlighted above. If the proposals are formally adopted and accepted by the international community, it would be a breach of the inter-state obligations of the Fourth Geneva Convention as it is detrimental to the rights of protected persons. The State Parties to the Convention are under an obligation to ensure that the rights of protected persons are not violated, even in a peace agreement.
The aforementioned diplomatic initiatives have as their backdrop the looming Israeli elections scheduled to be held on the 6 February 2001, with the main contenders being the sitting Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, and Likud head Ariel Sharon. Sharons record vis--vis the Palestinians is well known. Barak however, is still portraying his candidacy within the context of some sort of rapprochement with the Palestinians.

The Continuing Infraction of International Human Rights & Humanitarian Law:
East Jerusalem is subject to the laws of belligerent occupation and the Palestinian Arab residents of the city are regarded as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The 1907 Hague Convention IV Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague Regulations) is also applicable. Article 42 of the Hague Regulations defines occupation: "Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised." Article 4 of the Geneva Civilians Convention defines protected persons as: "those who at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves in case of conflict or occupation in the hands of a Party to the conflict or occupying power of which they are not nationals."
International humanitarian law places upon the occupying power certain legal obligations. The belligerent occupant is obliged to refrain from annexing any part of the territory occupied and must also refrain from settling its own citizens in occupied territory. The occupying power is also obliged to ensure the well being of the occupied population and to refrain from introducing its own laws to govern the lives of the population under occupation. Both article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and article 43 of the Hague Regulations require the occupying power to respect the penal legislation in force at the commencement of the occupation. The existing laws of the land are regarded as valid, regardless of the occupation. The occupying power is also obliged under the laws of belligerent occupation to refrain from confiscating land in occupied territory. Article 46 of the Hague Regulations expressly stipulates that private property must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated. Under the general rules of belligerent occupation, the occupant does not acquire any sovereignty over territory, it merely exercises de facto control. The occupation is regarded as a provisional situation and hence the rights of the occupant over territory are transitory.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, "The occupation of territory in wartime is essentially a temporary, de facto situation, which deprives the occupied power of neither its statehood nor its sovereignty; it merely interferes with its power to exercise its rights. That is what distinguishes occupation from annexationConsequently, occupation as a result of war, while representing the actual possession to all appearances, cannot imply any right whatsoever to dispose of territories." (Commentaries on the Fourth Geneva Convention Jean Pictat)
Israel continues to systematically violate international humanitarian law. The ongoing settlement expansion in East Jerusalem violates article 49, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own citizens to occupied territory. This specific infraction of international humanitarian law is included in the 1998 Rome Statute of the soon to be established International Criminal Court. Though the Statute has a retroactive clause implying that crimes committed before the formal establishment of the Court would not be admissible, if the two parties to the conflict fail to reach an agreement before the Court is formally established, then those responsible for settlements could conceivably be tried. This would have potentially serious repercussions for Israels political and military establishment.
Article 29 of the Geneva Civilians Convention addresses the responsibility that an occupying power has towards protected persons. "The Party to the conflict in whose hands protected persons may be, is responsible for the treatment accorded to them by its agents, irrespective of any individual responsibility which may be incurred." In addition to article 27 article 32 emphatically prohibits certain acts:
The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.
Israels annexation of East Jerusalem in June 1967 does not in anyway affect the status of its Palestinian residents as protected persons. If anything, those protected persons living under a regime of annexation should be accorded a heightened degree of protection. Article 47 of the Convention stipulates that protected persons shall not be deprived of the benefits of the Convention due to annexation. The commentary on article 47 states that an occupying power continues to be bound by the Convention as a whole even when, in disregard of the rules of international law, it claims during a conflict to have annexed all or part of an occupied territory.
Baraks government like all previous Israeli governing administrations continues to deny the applicability of the Geneva Civilians Convention to East Jerusalem and the continued settlement expansion highlighted below will only have the effect of consolidating Israels illegal annexation.
The Israeli authorities continue to facilitate the forced eviction of Palestinians from their property in East Jerusalem and replacing them with Israeli Jewish citizens. Under the Geneva Civilians Convention the Occupying power can move protected persons from their original place of abode so long as there is an overwhelming security imperative. This is certainly not the case in circumstances in which forced eviction has been carried out in East Jerusalem. Rather, there has been a clear ideological basis for the continuing evictions based on the premise that Israels Jewish citizens have a right to live wherever they please, even in occupied territory and in the homes of protected persons who have been evicted. This is clearly contrary to the Geneva Civilians Convention as it is tantamount to transferring the citizens of the occupying power into occupied territory. Moreover, forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes constitute a gross violation of international human rights law. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has repeatedly asserted that forced evictions are wholly incompatible with the Covenant. In its general comment no 7 on forced evictions at its meeting held in May 1997, the United Nations Committee asserted that all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees equal protection against forced eviction and harassment.
It should be pointed out that one of the central failings of the Oslo process has been its neglect of a number of substantial international legal references. Nowhere in the series of agreements from the Declaration of Principles to the latest, the Sharm el Sheikh Memorandum, which make up the Oslo process, is there any reference to the Geneva Civilians Convention. Thus, there is no acknowledgment of the status of the Palestinian population as protected persons and in essence scant regard is given to any human rights protection mechanism within the documents. For the Palestinians of Jerusalem, up until recently, their fate has been at the periphery of the whole Oslo Process with Jerusalem issues only recently being addressed in a concerted manner at the failed Camp David summit in July 2000 and the recent Clinton initiative of January 2001.

The first house demolition to take place after the Barak government took office was the demolition of the Halasa family home in Sawahira al-Sharqiya. On 24 July 1999 the Israeli Civil Administration demolished the house of Ibrahim Halasa that was located near Maale Adumim settlement on the claim that the house was built on state land. The house sheltered nine persons. This was the fourth time that the Halasa home has been demolished. The first demolition took place in 1988. The Israeli army and police used excessive force during the demolition and arrested Ibrahim (then 65 years old) and his daughter Aliyah (then 16 years). Ibrahim and Aliyah were held incommunicado for a number of days and Aliyah was released only in late August.

On 11 July 1999, the Israeli authorities demolished two houses in al-Walajeh owned by Muhammad and Ahmad Khalifeh on the pretext that they were built without a permit. Ten people were injured as a result of the excessive use of force deployed by the Israeli security forces. Ahmad Khalifeh had been living in the house since the end of April and Muhammad since the beginning of May.

On 30 August 1999, a house under construction, owned by Bassam Adama, was demolished in at-Tor neighbourhood on the Mount of Olives. The house was intended to shelter seven persons.

Israeli bulldozers demolished a 240m house in Beit Hanina on 25 October 1999. The house was owned by Kamel Abu Dheileh, Odeh Khader and Najwah Imteir and sheltered 24 persons. The house had been built in 1991 without the requisite permit and the Jerusalem municipality had already imposed a fine of 7,000 NIS on the owners. Because the case was still being examined by the court, the owners lawyer assured them that the demolition would be postponed. Furniture and other personal belongings were destroyed with the house.

The next day, 26 October 1999, the house of Ihab Naser in Issawiya was demolished. Naser lived in the 100m house with his wife and his mother. The family was informed on the day of the demolition that the land had been confiscated. The demolition came unexpectedly, because the municipality had requested that the family initiate licensing procedures only three months earlier. The area was designated as a green area by the municipality and 37 other houses in the area received demolition orders.

On 15 November 1999, the Jerusalem municipality demolished the house under construction of Muhammad al-Jabari in Jabal al-Mukabber. The house was intended to shelter 16 persons.

On 23 November 1999, the Israeli authorities demolished the house that Ihab Naser from Issawiya was rebuilding after it had been demolished on 26 October. Another house in Issawiya owned by Hussein Khalil was demolished the same day. Khalil and 15 family members had been living in the house that covered about 140m.

On 1 February 2000, the municipality demolished the house of Abderraziq al-Sheikh from Issawiya for the second time in less than ten months. The bulldozers were accompanied by a large group of Israeli soldiers. Al-Sheikh was temporarily living in rented accommodation in Sheikh Jarrah and was preparing to move into the new house that had just been completed. The construction of the house had cost an estimated 40,000 US$.

On 8 March 2000, the Jerusalem municipality demolished the house of Abdallah as-Salaymeh in the Wadi Qaddoum area in Silwan on the claim that the house was built without a permit. The demolition made nine persons homeless. The Israeli security forces severely beat two sons of Salaymeh when they tried to prevent the bulldozers from demolishing their home.

Three rooms owned by Muhammad Dirbas, Omar Dari and Yousef Muhaysen were demolished in Issawiya on 18 April 2000. Muhaysin had built the room in preparation to build a house for his family. Muhammad Dirbas and Omar Dari had both built their rooms for agricultural purposes.

On 5 June 2000, the Jerusalem municipality demolished the house of Hasan Shehadeh in al-Walajeh. The demolition made seven people homeless. The bulldozers were accompanied by an estimated 200 Israeli Border Police officers. Twelve inhabitants of al-Walajeh, some of them elderly people, were injured in clashes with the police when they tried to stop the demolition. The Israeli authorities claimed that the house was built without a permit.

On Israeli Interior Ministry orders, the house of Hamza al-Mughrabi in Jabal al-Mukabber was demolished on 13 June 2000. The house sheltered ten persons. Al-Mughrabi stated that he had obtained a permit from the Jerusalem municipality to renovate his house in 1992. Because part of the house started to collapse, he had to conduct renovations. The Interior Ministry then claimed that the house was built illegally. Al-Mughrabi had received an order to appear in a court hearing over the planned demolition on 12 July, but the bulldozers arrived before the case was heard. The family was given half an hour to evacuate the house and the furniture was destroyed along with the house. One demonstrator who tried to stop the bulldozers was arrested. The demolition caused anger within the Israeli political arena. Chaim Ramon, the Minister for Jerusalem Affairs was not informed in advance of the demolition, whereas he should have been according to an agreement between him and the Ministry of Interior. The demolition was seen as an attempt by the then Interior Minister Natan Sharansky to assert Jewish sovereignty over all Jerusalem.

On 14 August 2000, the municipality demolished two houses in Silwan under the pretext that they had been built without a permit. Early in the morning, bulldozers, accompanied by large forces of police and Border Police came to demolish the house of Jamal Dakaydik. Dakaydik, his wife and three children had been living in the house for only two months. According to Jamal Dakaydiks affidavit to LAW, the Israeli authorities did not give him time to salvage the furniture before the demolition. Later that morning, the municipality bulldozers demolished the house of Muhammad al-Tawil. The house had cost 100,000 Jordanian Dinars to build and the 17-member family was preparing itself to move in. Al-Tawil stated to LAW that he had applied for a building permit from the municipality numerous times in the past three years, but to no avail.

Three houses under construction were demolished on 29 August 2000 in the Ras Khamis neighbourhood of Shufat. Early in the morning, Israeli security forces closed the Shufat refugee camp. The bulldozers came from the nearby settlement of Pisgat Zeev and demolished the houses under construction that belonged to Ibrahim Alqam, Ahmad Hushiyeh al-Zghari and Muhammad Abu Ghalieh. Ibrahim Alqam told LAW that he had built his house two months earlier in order to house his family of 12 persons. Muhammad Abu Ghaliehs 120 m-house was intended to shelter his family, which includes nine children.

The Aqel family is currently struggling against the demolition of their home on Mount Scopus. The Hebrew University is pressuring the municipality to demolish the house so that it can construct a parking lot for its students. The family received a demolition order from the municipality on 11 May 2000, on the basis that they had undertaken illegal renovations, although the family had obtained a permit for the renovation work. The Aqel family was expelled from the village of Lifta during the 1948 war and eventually settled on land that they owned on Mount Scopus where they built a house in 1951. In 1968 the Jerusalem municipality informed the family that their land would be confiscated for "public use". The family refused to leave the house and got entangled in a protracted legal struggle. The family is left with only a few hundred square meters surrounded by the Hebrew University dormitories and the Hyatt hotel.

Settlement Expansion Under Barak
Prime Minister Ehud Barak has continued the policy of previous Israeli governments of supporting the establishment of settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem. So far, construction work on key strategic settlements like Har Homa on Jabel Abu Ghneim, which will close the ring of settlements in the south east of the city, and Ras al Amoud, which will help to segregate the Old City from the eastern Palestinian neighbourhoods, continues unabated. Moreover, Barak has failed to rescind the order passed by the former Defence Minister in the previous Netanyahu administration, Moshe Arens, to extend the boundaries of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. Maale Adumim, being the largest settlement in the West Bank, is the cornerstone of the greater Jerusalem project intended to expand the boundaries of the city further eastwards which would result in the further annexation of more Palestinian land effectively reconfiguring the citys eastern boundary and driving a wedge deep into any Palestinian entity that may be established in the West Bank. To lay the groundwork for the expansion of Maale Adumim, the Jahalin Bedouin tribe was forcibly removed from the vicinity of the settlement and resettled next to the Jerusalem Municipal garbage dump in 1997.
In July 2000 it was announced in the Israeli press that Barak had approved a plan aimed at accelerating the development of Jerusalem as a national Jewish project. According to the Haaretz newspaper, 1.25 billion US dollars have been put aside to invest in all aspects of the citys life with a special emphasis on East Jerusalem. This can only mean increased spending aimed at enhancing the already extensive Israeli foothold in the occupied east. Below are short notes on settlement plans that were announced for the Jerusalem region during the period of the current Government:

In May 2000 a preliminary plan was announced to build a new settlement consisting of 200 dwelling units on 64 dunams of land in the portion of Abu Dis that is within the Israeli defined Jerusalem municipality. The settlement is to be called Kidmat Zion. It is believed that Irving Moscowitz is involved in this project. Moscowitz is a well known supporter of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.

The continuing construction of 119 dwelling units that will make up the new Jewish settlement in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Ras al Amoud. According to the latest information, 60 families have so far made known their desire to live in the compound upon its completion. Irving Moscowitz is also heavily involved in this project.

There is continuing construction to complete the 6,500 dwelling units that is projected for the new settlement of Har Homa on Jabel Abu Ghneim. According to information gleaned from the Israeli press, up to February 2000, about 1,600 housing units have been put up for sale. Another 650 apartments in stage A of the project plus an additional 700 have been sold. Moreover, on May 17 2000, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) published a tender in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot for the construction of a further 582 housing units in Har Homa. On 30 October 2000, it was announced in the Haaretz newspaper that the Jerusalem municipality intends to discuss the construction of an additional 4,000 residential units in Har Homa.

It was reported on the 3 January 2000 that the ILA issued a tender for the construction of 122 dwelling units in Pisgat Zeev and on the 3 September the Jerusalem municipality approved the construction of a technological park on a further 53 dunams in the settlement.

On March 10 2000 the Israeli Jerusalem paper Kol Hair reported initial planning for a 2,000-unit development project on 253 dunams of land near the southern Jerusalem settlement of Gilo.

In March 2000 658 dunams were expropriated for the construction of the Eastern ring road. The expropriated land belonged to five villages: Issawiya, A-Tur, al Azariya, Abu Dis and Ras al Amoud.

In May 2000 Israeli Cabinet Ministers approved a plan to set up a 176 dunam national park on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The fruition of the plan will aid in efforts to isolate the Old City from the surrounding Arab neighbourhoods. The park is apparently intended to be one of 17 projects aimed at creating Jewish contiguity around the Old City.

According to reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz dated 23rd July 2000, Jewish settler organizations have accelerated efforts to acquire Arab homes mostly in the Old City and along the seam between East and West Jerusalem in the wake of the negotiations at Camp David.

Plans were made public in August 2000 for the construction of a new prison in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. According to reports, the prison complex will be built on 29 dunams out of a total of 354 dunams that the government of Israel expropriated in 1968. Note an Israeli government complex has been in Sheikh Jarrah for a while, and the Palestinian neighbourhood is also home to the Israeli National Police Headquarters as well as to the Border Police Headquarters.
A large part of official settlement activity seems to be taking place in the so called Greater Jerusalem region. According to Haaretz journalist Nadav Shragai, statistics for settlement construction in the first half of 2000 show that the bulk of settlement expansion is taking place in the so called greater Jerusalem district with the construction of 860 dwelling units compared with 207 in settlements in other parts of the West Bank. For example:

On the 27 August 1999 the Israeli Housing Ministry started preparations for the expansion of Maale Adumim. The plan is for the construction of 2,000 housing units. On the 22 November 1999 work began on a tunnel road under Jerusalems Mount Scopus which will be part of a road network linking Maale Adumim to Israel. In April 2000 the then Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy approved tenders for 174 apartments in Maale Adumim.

The expansion of Givat Zeev and the ongoing construction of a new additional neighbourhood in the Har Adar settlement continues unabated.

Development projects are being pursued in the Etzion Bloc settlements of Efrata and Betar. The development projects include the construction of an industrial area as well as a tourist site. In July 1999 plans were announced for the construction of 600 dwelling units in the settlement of Betar Illit south west of Jerusalem.

The violent eruption in the Occupied Territories following the visit to the Haram compound by Likud leader Ariel Sharon has done a great deal to dampen the international enthusiasm for Barak and his government and has exposed in a very dramatic way the pervasive brutality that Palestinian protected persons are subjected to by elements of the Israeli security forces. The ongoing settlement construction within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem as well as in the surrounding region pose serious questions about Baraks willingness to comply with the relevant legal instruments pertinent to the Occupied Territories, particularly in the case of Jerusalem.
It is essential that the international community press Israel to uphold the relevant provisions of the Geneva Civilians Convention. It is the particular responsibility of the other High Contracting Parties to ensure Israels compliance. This inter-state responsibility is set out in article 1 of the Civilians Convention:
"The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances."
Thus article 1 confers upon the High Contracting Parties two obligations. The obligation to ensure that in a conflict situation their agents apply the provisions of the Convention and that other states apply the Convention also. According to Jean Pictat in his authoritative commentary on article 1 of the Convention:
". In the event of a power failing to fulfil its obligations, the other contracting parties (neutral, allied or enemy) may, and should endeavour to bring it back to an attitude of respect for the Convention. The proper working of the system of protection provided by the Convention demands in fact that the contracting parties should not be content merely to apply its provisions themselves, but should do everything in their power to ensure that the humanitarian principles underlying the convention are applied universally."
It is important for commentators and officials of member states of the international community to be fully aware of the past history of previous Labour administrations. After all, it was under a government headed by the Labour leader Levi Eshkol that the first settlements were established in the Occupied Territories shortly after the 1967 war. Moreover, it should be remembered that Shimon Peres, who was one of the chief architects of the Oslo process, had a close connection to the Gush Emunim settlement movement during the first Rabin government (1974-1977). It is this close connection to the settlement movement within the Labour party that Barak hails. Barak himself stated that he is much closer to Yitzhak Levy of the Mafdal than he is to the left leaning Meretz party. With such a statement, Baraks intentions should have been obvious and with that its implications for both East Jerusalem and the Oslo process. In short, ever since the beginning of the Oslo process, Labour governments have pursued actions that have been vehemently at odds with the spirit of peace and public international law. Baraks government has been no exception.

The Al-Aqsa Shootings

This is our third and final Brief looking at human rights violations in East Jerusalem since Ehud Barak came to power. This Brief takes as its foil, the violent incidents that occurred on the Haram al Sharif on the 29 September 2000 and sets the incident within the context of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The Al-Aqsa Shootings
It is widely believed that the recent disturbances in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was sparked by the provocative visit to the Haram al Sharif by Likud head Ariel Sharon.[1] On the day of the visit, the 28 September 2000, initial disturbances led to the injury of five Palestinian civilians. On the 29 September 2000, according to information garnered by LAW, large numbers of Israeli security personnel were deployed from the early morning in the vicinity of the Haram compound. Israeli security personnel established a number of makeshift checkpoints around the compound and a number of them were positioned on the rooftops of adjacent houses.
The disturbances on Friday 29 September started just before the end of afternoon prayers. In response to Palestinian protests at Ariel Sharons visit the previous day, Israeli security personnel initially fired rubber coated metal bullets into the crowd of worshippers but eventually used live ammunition. Four people were killed as a result. Eyewitnesses reporting that another individual was shot dead outside East Jerusalems al Maqased hospital after Israeli security forces fired on a group of stone throwing Palestinian demonstrators. In the incidents in question, firing was often excessive and indiscriminate, which led to the deaths cited above.

Those killed on the 29 September were:
Haithem Awilah Skafi from Thuri
Nizar Ibrahim Shawiki from Silwan in Jerusalem
Osama Mohamed Jidah from Jerusalems Old City
Yehyah Hasdan Farraj from Beit Safafa in Jerusalem
Bilal Afaneh from Abu Dis
It is estimated that 220 people were injured in the incidents on 29 September in Jerusalem with an estimated 32 people sustaining serious injuries. It should be noted that on the 29 September 2000 not one shot was fired from the Haram compound at Israeli security officers and most officers were suitably protected by riot gear to ward of injuries that could be inflicted by stones or Molotov cocktails. It is inconceivable that the actions of the demonstrators warranted such a lethal, excessive and indiscriminate response. Shooting at civilian protestors is permissible only in life threatening circumstances. Any action under taken by the security forces must be proportionate to the level of threat and must in no way be indiscriminate. The events that unfolded on the 29 September seem to indicate that the Israeli security forces failed to take these stipulations into account.[2]

The Al-Aqsa Shootings: The Legal Context
The events in the Haram compound raise many questions regarding the obligations and responsibilities derived from international legal instruments, which govern the conduct of an Occupying Power in relation to a civilian population. Central and of utmost importance to any relation between the Israeli security forces and the Palestinian civilian population is the protection of the right to life. The recent events have illustrated that Israel, the Occupying Power, has clearly acted outside the permitted legal framework.
The main international obligations aimed at the protection of the right to life the Israeli security forces should have complied with are set down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. These legal instruments must be seen in close conjunction with and inseparable from the internationally recognized guidelines for the use of force. Both the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials stipulate standards that are intended to minimize the risk to life and limb.
In both international humanitarian and human rights law, the right to life is guaranteed the highest degree of protection. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights unequivocally states that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,"[3] and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, "no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."[4] Moreover, every human rights instrument provides that the right to life and security of the individual does not allow for any derogation,[5] and must be upheld and respected without exception in all circumstances, including times of emergency and internal unrest.[6]
The obligation to safeguard the rights of the occupied civilian population is at the very core of the protective objectives of the relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Convention states, "protected persons are entitled to respect for their persons"[7], which covers all the rights which are inseparable from the human being by the very fact of his or her existence, especially the right to life and physical integrity. The right to physical integrity prohibits acts impairing individual life or health which is reinforced by the stipulation that prohibits states "from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their handsnot only to murderbut also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents." [8] Israel, the Occupying Power, is obliged to respect the obligations and restraints of international humanitarian law and prevent and abstain from any action that endangers the right to life and physical integrity of protected persons. As those killed on the 29 September in East Jerusalem did not pose an immenant life threatening danger to members of the Israeli security forces, these were wilful killings, which is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Grave breaches of the Convention are set out in articles 146 and 147. Grave breaches are war crimes, and the Convention provides for the prosecution of those who commit this level of violation of the laws and costums of war. The rules of the laws and costums of war are valid even in circumstances of prolonged occupation.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that the right to life "shall be protected by law.[9]" With regards to the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials, the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provide the main principles and obligations aimed at the protection of the right to life.[10] Whenever force is used, the principle of proportionality must be strictly applied without exception. The restrictions of the principle of proportionality oblige every law enforcement official to "act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved,"[11] and "use force only when strictly necessary."[12] Generally, in the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials are always required to "respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons."[13]
The use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials must be seen as exceptional. Accordingly, governments and law enforcement agencies "should develop non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations", in order to "increasingly restrain the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons."[14] In the case of dispersing violent assemblies, law enforcement officials "may use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary."[15] It is inherent in the high degree of responsibility required by law enforcement officials to protect the right to life that non-violent means must be applied before resorting to the use of force and firearms can be justified.[16]
The use of firearms is regarded as an extreme measure. This implies that every effort must be made to exclude the use of firearms. Thus, firearms shall only be used "in self-defense or defense against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to lifeand only when less extreme means are insufficient. Furthermore, "intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life."[17]

If the right to self-defense is invoked, two concepts, necessity and proportionality are to be considered. Necessity means that no choice of means and no moment for deliberation is left. Moreover, before self-defense becomes legitimate, the action taken in pursuance must also be proportional, implying that it must not be unreasonable or excessive, "since the act, justified by the necessity of self-defense must be limited by that necessity, and kept clearly within it."[18]
The use of fire arms by the Israeli police is regulated by police Directive 06.02.14. The Directive states that "the use of firearms is permitted where there is an actual fear of immediate injury to the life or body of the police officer or others, and no other way exists to prevent injuryThe harm that may be caused shall be weighed against the damage intended to be prevented." The Directive also explicitly states that when dispersing riots, police units are only allowed to fire in the air. It is clear that the Israeli security forces did not adhere to their own open fire regulations when dealing with the recent disturbances involving Palestinian civilians.
Moreover, whenever the use of force or firearms are applied to disperse demonstrations, the risk of endangering uninvolved persons must be minimized. This is a simple conclusion a majori ad minus, confirmed by the principle stating that even in the case of non-lethal incapacitating weapons, their development and deployment "should be carefully evaluated in order to minimize the risk of endangering uninvolved persons."[19] This clearly indicates that any indiscriminate use of force or firearms is prohibited.[20]

[1] This is not to suggest that Sharons visit was the only reason for the start of the intifada. Its origins are largely to do with popular frustration at the Oslo Process that seemed to bring new more complex restrictions, combined with the continuing dispossession. Sharons visit was merely the spark.

[2] See Btselem interim report "Events on the Temple Mount" September 29 2000. Please note that "the entire body of international humanitarian law is intended, in times of conflict, to restrict the use of violence to the lowest level compatible with military imperatives (Proportionate use of force and prohibition on indiscriminate attacks)". Quoted directly from "International criminal jurisdiction, international humanitarian law and humanitarian action" by Jacques Stroun in the International Review of the Red Cross no 321 p 623.

[3] Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[4] Article 6 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

[5] Article 4, Paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly states that the right to life protected by Article 6 may in no case be derogated.

[6] Press Release, Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, 5 October 2000.

[7] Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[8] Article 32 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[9] Article 6, Paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

[10] The latter may be seen as an authoritative interpretation of the former.

[11] Principle 5 (a) of the 1990 Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[12] Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 34/169 of December 1979.

[13] Article 2 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 34/169 of December 1979.

[14] Principle 2 of the 1990 Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[15] Principle 14 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[16] Article 1 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials in conjunction with Principle 4 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[17] Principle 9 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[18] International Law, Malcolm N.Shaw (Cambridge University Press) 1997, p 787.

[19] Principle 3 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

[20] Excerpts from LAWs submission "Israels Use of Military Force Against Palestinian Demonstrators" to the special session of the Commission on Human Rights, October 2000.

Settler Activity Within Palestinian Communities

This is the second Brief concerning violations of public international law that occurred during Baraks tenure as Prime Minister of the State of Israel. This second Brief looks at settler activity within Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

As settlement activities in general have continued under Barak, the government continued to support the settlement of Jews in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities approved a settlement plan for Abu Dis and gave additional building permits for the Jewish settlement in Ras al-Amud. Settlers in the Old City also received permits to extend and renovate houses and new families have moved in. Moreover, the Israeli authorities provide the security guards for the settlers in these so-called "new Jewish neighbourhoods". It is estimated that the government spends 20 million NIS per annum on the perceived security needs of the Jewish families living in Palestinian neighbourhoods.[1] The neighbourhoods which have the status of "new Jewish neighbourhood" are the Jewish enclaves in Silwan, Ras al-Amud, Beit Orot, Sheikh Jarrah and the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The Israeli Housing Ministry pays for the security measures aimed at protecting the Jewish settlers in these "neighbourhoods."
Contrary to Jews, who claim property in East Jerusalem, Palestinians cannot claim their property in West Jerusalem according to Israeli law, although Palestinians own an estimated 70% of what now constitutes West Jerusalem.[2] Haaretz-correspondent Danny Rubenstein commented on the subject: "Against the background of the peace process with the Palestinians, these are actions that the Barak government should be preventing. Surely it is absurd to demand the meagre amount of Jewish property that was located across the Israeli-Jordanian border after 1948 while, at the same time, hundreds of thousands of Arabs are being denied the right to claim properties in Israel."[3]

Fourteen Jewish families are living in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, south of the Old City, in houses expropriated from Palestinians. The settler group Elad (acronym in Hebrew meaning "towards the city of David") is active in seizing houses owned by Palestinians in the neighbourhood.
In August 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice decided in favour of the Abassi family of Silwan, whose house had been seized by settlers from Elad. In its decision, the High Court confirmed the decision of the Jerusalem District Court of 1996, which rejected the settlers claims that the house was absentee property and revoked a deal between the Custodian for Absentee Property and the Israeli Development Authority. In 1991, settlers came to the Abbasi house in the middle of the night under police protection and took over nine of the 12 apartments in the building. They have been living in the building ever since. The Abbasi family took the case to court, represented by lawyer Avigdor Feldman, who demanded the settlers evacuation from the house. The settlers had obtained the house through the procedure described in the Klugman Committee report of 1992[4]: The Custodian for Absentee Property declared the property absentee property on the basis of a fraudulent affidavit provided by a settlers organisation and transferred the property to the Israeli Development Authority. The Development Authority transferred it to Amidar (a governmental housing company), which rented it to Elad. Elad appealed the court decision of 1996, but in 1999, the High Court supported the District courts decision and rejected the appeal. However, the Israeli authorities have not taken any measures against the settlers and they are still living in the house.

The Old City
Most of the settlement activities in the Old City are carried out by the Ateret Cohanim settlement organisation. They have already taken over between 35 to 40 buildings in the Christian and Muslim Quarters of the Old City, in many cases using fraudulent means to dispossess Palestinian tenants and owners. Sixty-three families have so far settled in houses that have been acquired by the organisation.[5]
In 27 January 2000, settlers attempted to take over a workshop in the Aqabat as-Saraya street in the Muslim Quarter. The settlers had already seized the space above the shop and from there they drilled a hole in the ceiling of the shop and descended on a rope ladder. Neighbours notified Muhammad az-Zayn, the workshop keeper, and they hurried to the shop in order to drive the settlers out. The settlers had already thrown az-Zayns belongings on the street and they had put two beds and a motorcycle in the shop. When the police arrived, they ordered az-Zayn and the settlers to the police station in Jaffa Gate for questioning. The settlers were not arrested, but had to sign a declaration that they would not try to enter the workshop again. The police ordered the closure of the shop until matters had been decided in a court of law.
One of the settlement projects of Ateret Cohanim which has expanded during the past year or so is Beit Yuri in the Bab Huta neighbourhood of the Muslim Quarter. In 1999, two Jewish families moved into the house, which was purchased by the settlement organisation in 1985. In July 2000, two more families moved into the house. Currently, there are around 150 houses in the Old City where the ownership is being contested by the various settler organisations.[6]

Sheikh Jarrah
The Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem is another site of Jewish settlement activity. The neighbourhood is known to the settlers as "Shimon Hatzadik" or "Simon the Just". During his last month in office, Meir Porush, who was deputy Minister for Housing in the Netanyahu government gave "Shimon Hatzadik" the "new Jewish neighbourhood status", which meant that the Housing Ministry pays 400,000 NIS annually for private security services for the Jewish residents of the "neighbourhood".[7] In July 1999, nine apartments were inhabited by Jews in Sheikh Jarrah.[8] The "Zion Settlers" and "Kedem Jerusalem" organisations are now located in the neighbourhood. "Zion Settlers" works on the acquisition of Palestinian property in Sheikh Jarrah and Kedem Jerusalem organises tours in Jerusalem.
On 19 November 1999, a group of Jewish settlers came to the house of Rifqa Abdallah al-Kurd in Sheikh Jarrah in an attempt to force her to renounce ownership of her house. The settlers ordered her to sign papers to that effect but she refused. Then she noticed that there was a large group of settlers in the garden and in a part of the house that was under construction. The settlers threw her to the ground. The police ordered the annex under construction closed because the settlers claim ownership of the house and therefore claim that the al-Kurds are not allowed to build. UNRWA leased the land from the Jordanian government in 1956 for 99 years and built 28 houses for 1948 refugees. The al-Kurd family has been living in the house since 1956. Since the 1970s Jewish organisations have claimed the land and have been to court on numerous occasions in an attempt to "retrieve" the property. The latest claim on the land was asserted in 1998. On 18 September 2000, the court decided that the annex under construction has to stay closed until a further decision is taken.
In April 2000, a conflict erupted concerning the land owned by the Abu Jibna family in Sheikh Jarrah. On 24 April, a group of settlers led by Knesset member Benny Elon entered the plot owned by the Abu Jibna family under the protection of the Israeli police, but Palestinian protesters stopped them. The Israelis claim that Ramban (Rabbi Nahmanides) used to pray in the cave situated on the plot and therefore it is a Jewish holy site and Jews should have the right to pray there. The ownership of the Abu Jibna family goes back more then 400 years and they have documents attesting to this effect. Palestinians deny it is a Jewish holy site. When a quarrel broke out between Elon and Palestinian Legislative Council member Hathem Abd al-Qader, the police removed the Israeli protesters. A few days later, the Israeli protestors led by Elon, came back with a court order permitting them to pray in the cave. At the same time, Palestinian demonstrators, led by Faisal Husseini and Ahmad Tibi came with a court order that allowed the Abu Jibna family to keep the fence that is around the plot. Violent clashes erupted when the Israeli demonstrators tried to make a hole in the fence. Later that day clashes occurred again when the court ordered the police to make a hole in the fence to allow Jews to pray. The Abu Jibna family appealed against the court decision, but on 22 May, the court decided that the cave is a Jewish holy site and that the owners of the land must give Jewish worshippers access to the site. The court called on the family to remove the fences and cancelled a plan to construct a parking lot on the land.

Settler Assault On Palestinians
The presence of Jewish settlers in Palestinian neighbourhoods often leads to abuse and physical assault on Arab residents. In the Old City, many Palestinian residents fall victim to assaults perpetrated by settlers. Because the Israeli police often fail to investigate these cases in a thorough manner, most settlers are not brought before a court of law.[9] The statements below are illustrative of such cases.
On 3 April 2000, the house of Isam Abu Taa in Sheikh Jarrah was set on fire, allegedly by settlers. Abu Taa had left the house with his wife and eight children and when they came back they found their house in flames. Abu Taa told LAW that eyewitnesses had seen three Israelis coming from the house just before the fire broke out. The fire caused serious damage to the house and most of the furniture was destroyed. Abu Taa said to LAW: "Normally we never leave the house empty, we always take turns guarding the house. But this time the children have their spring holidays so we went out together." For many years the family has been the victim of settlers trying to chase them away from the house. According to Abu Taa, the family suffers from daily abuse from the settlers; they often throw stones at the house and once they poisoned one of Abu Taas dogs. The Israeli police, who normally accompany the fire brigade, did not come to the site to investigate the arson. Even after Abu Taa went to the police station to report the arson, an investigation was not carried out. Most of the land owned by the family was confiscated by Israel. The house is now surrounded by a number of Israeli institutions that have been built on expropriated land.
On 27 May 2000, two settlers assaulted Ruhayfa Salaymeh while she was visiting her 85-year old mother Rifqa in the Aqabat as-Saraya area in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. The mother lives in a room in a building that has been taken over by settlers. The family used to inhabit three rooms in the building, but when the settlers took over the building 20 years ago, the mother was left with only one of the rooms. According to Ruhayfas sister Zayn, in past incidents settlers had beaten Rifqas grandchildren. She also stated that settlers routinely empty their garbage in her mothers room. In one incident where a scuffle erupted between Ruhayfa and the settlers, she reported the incident to the police. The police told her that the only way to deal with the situation was to move her mother out of the apartment.
On 9 August 2000, settlers under the protection of the Israeli security forces assaulted the Qarain family of Silwan. Nawal Qarain stated in her affidavit to LAW: "On 9 August, a middle-aged settler urinated over the wall surrounding our house. My son Thaer saw him, so he rebuked him and asked him to go away. The settler answered that he was Jewish and only Arabs should go away. Later, he came back with at least 30 men who tried to break the front door." According to Qarain, the settlers beat her sons Thaer and Yazan. When the police arrived they also beat Thaer and his father. As the beating continued, the settlers gathered in a corner and started shouting "death to Arabs". Rabia Qarain sustained a fracture in her arm when she tried to prevent one of the police officers from hitting her son Muhammad in the head with a baton. Thaer Qarain sustained a fracture in his hand. Three other family members were injured with cuts and bruises.
On 24 August 2000, Mustafa Mabad (29) was beaten up and seriously injured by settlers in the Old City. Mabad was on his way to his parents house in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City when a yeshiva student blocked his way. When Mabad insisted on continuing his way, the settler attacked him with a metal rod. Mabad succeeded in wresting the rod from the attacker, but then another yeshiva student arrived at the scene and sprayed tear gas at Mabad. He lost balance and dropped the rod. Then the two used it to beat him, mainly on the head. The two settlers fled and came back with a group of about ten yeshiva students and continued to hit Mabad, who lost consciousness. Mabad was taken to hospital, where he had to stay for a week. Later he had to spend another week in hospital for an operation on his nose, which was broken during the beating. The police have failed to pursue a vigorous case against the alleged assailants.

Israels obligation under public International Law
As Israel is an occupying power in East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities have an obligation to the citys inhabitants to ensure their personal welfare and that of their property. Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides elementary safeguards for a civilian population that is under occupation. It stipulates that civilians are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their person and that at all times they shall be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence and threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity. Israels responsibility for the protection of East Jerusalems Palestinian residents against assaults and other forms of violence from Israeli citizens is thus clear.
The eviction of Palestinian residents from their homes and replacing them with Israeli Jewish citizens is an infraction of article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the occupying power from transferring its citizens to occupied territory; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The UN Committee which monitors the implementation of the Covenant in its meeting in May 1997 ruled that forced evictions are incompatible with the Covenant and that every individual has the right to security of tenure.

Though the settling of Israeli Jews in Palestinian neighbourhoods is spearheaded by groups which have an affinity with Israels right wing parties and are the natural allies of the Likud party, as was illustrated above, Labour governments, in this case Baraks, did precious little to reverse the trend or return property to their Palestinian owners. The Klugman committee, which looked into Jewish acquisition of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem in August and September of 1992 found wholesale fraud in the acquisition process. The Committee also implicated the Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir or rather elements within it with complicity in the fraud. The then Rabin government failed to act on the findings despite the illicit use of State funds to acquire, renovate and guard the properties.
[1] This is not to suggest that Sharons visit was the only reason for the start of the intifada. Its origins are largely to do with popular frustration at the Oslo Process that seemed to bring new more complex restrictions, combined with the continuing dispossession. Sharons visit was merely the spark.

[2] See Btselem interim report "Events on the Temple Mount" September 29 2000. Please note that "the entire body of international humanitarian law is intended, in times of conflict, to restrict the use of violence to the lowest level compatible with military imperatives (Proportionate use of force and prohibition on indiscriminate attacks)". Quoted directly from "International criminal jurisdiction, international humanitarian law and humanitarian action" by Jacques Stroun in the International Review of the Red Cross no 321 p 623.

[3] Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[4] Article 6 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

[5] Article 4, Paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly states that the right to life protected by Article 6 may in no case be derogated.

[6] Press Release, Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, 5 October 2000.

[7] Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[8] Article 32 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

[9] Article 6, Paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


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