(10 February 2017) Israel’s “Regularization Law” is an act of legalization of its colonization policies

PR/EN/100217/11

The Zionist Israeli strategy of forcibly displacing Palestinian people and controlling over Palestinian lands has become very evident after the Israeli Knesset’s passage of the so-called “Regularization Law” on 6 February 2017. The law legalizes 4,000 housing units in 55 colonial outposts built on over 800 hectares of stolen Palestinian owned land in Area (C), which has been under Israeli control since the Oslo Accords and constitutes 60% of the West Bank. While the forcible displacement of Palestinians has been ongoing on both sides of the green line since before the 1948 Nakba, it has intensified lately across the occupied Palestinian territory. The recent severe campaigns of forcible transfer through land confiscation and home demolitions would not be taking place if the international community were not failing to act according to its responsibilities under international law.
 
Government minsters and members of the Knesset uphold the legislation as a strategic step toward annexing the West Bank and applying Israeli sovereignty. Although the law could be found unconstitutional before the Israeli Supreme Court, it demonstrates the political will of Israel in furthering its colonial enterprise on Palestinian land with complete disregard for international law. This will has lately been emboldened by vague support put forth by newly elected US President Donald Trump, “without whom the law would have probably not passed” as  Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the far-right Jewish Home party, stated.
 
The legislation was passed in the context of widespread and escalating rates of home demolitions. On 18 January 2017, Israeli forces demolished fifteen Palestinian structures in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran. On 8 February 2017, they demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 109th time since 2010. 2016 was a record year for property destruction with 1,089 Palestinian demolished or seized structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 1,593 Palestinians. Already in 2017, Israel has demolished 152 structures forcibly transferring 251 people. This is considered as the highest number witnessed in the oPt in only one year since 2009, when UN OCHA started documenting the demolitions. Israel’s policies of forcible transfer amount to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute.

On 23 December 2016 the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2334, demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease[s] all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. In violation of Article 25 of the United Nations Charter, Israel stated that it will never implement this “shameful, […] hostile and unbalanced” resolution. Israel’s reaction shows that it has no intention to stop its unashamed policies of forcible transfer, annexation, and colonization. On 20 January 2017 Israel approved the construction of 6,000 new colonizer housing units in direct violation of the new UNSC resolution.  Israel’s reaction shows that it has no intention to stop its unashamed policies of forcible transfer, annexation, and colonization.
 
Israel is also currently threatening to pass into law the Ma’ale Adumim and Area E-1 annexation plans, first drafted in 1974, which would give Israel sovereignty over 6,000 more hectares of Palestinian land and forcibly displace over 8,000 Bedouins from their homes. The current plans fall within the proposed path of the Annexation and Separation Wall. The new outpost legalization “Regularization law” and the draft bill to annex the Ma’ale Adumim colonial bloc should be treated as part of a broader plan to perpetuate illegal colonial control over occupied Palestinian people and their land, which is forbidden under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights, as well as UN General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) on 14 December 1960, 2649 (XXV) on 30 November 1970, 2787 (XXVI) on 6 December 1971 and  3070 (XXVIII) on 30 November 1973. 
 
BADIL is deeply concerned about the continuous failure of the international community to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under the UN Charter, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law in accordance to States’ Responsibilities. BADIL reiterates its call upon third party states and regional bodies, UN bodies and agencies, to take practical measures to end Israel’s plan of colonization, namely its strategic policies of forcible displacement, transfer of Palestinians, the ongoing transfer of Israeli colonizers to occupied territory, expansion and annexation of colonies, and its denial of Palestinian peoples’ inalienable rights.