Yesterday I posted an article by Amira Hass dealing with new military rulings which will permit the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank. Today she wrote an update on this situation, which is followed by an editorial from HaAretz speaking out against this new move on the part of the government…..

There are millions of Palestinians living in refugee camps outside of their country today, don’t allow Israel to increase their numbers. SPEAK OUT NOW AGAINST THIS INJUSTICE.

Include in your demands the RIGHT OF RETURN for ALL Palestinian refugees.

Annul order allowing expulsions of Arabs, groups urge Barak
By Amira Hass

Ten Israeli human rights organizations sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak yesterday, asking him to rescind two military orders permitting the immediate expulsion from the West Bank of thousands of Palestinians and others defined as “infiltrators” from the West Bank.

The orders are supposed to take effect on Wednesday.

The organizations, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights and Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, called the orders illegal, and said they permit arbitrary, extreme harm to a huge number of people.

As Haaretz reported yesterday, six months ago then-Israel Defense Forces West Bank commander Gadi Shamni signed one order designed to prevent infiltration, and another regarding security directives.

The letter to Barak states that under the orders, “any Palestinian in the West Bank is at risk of facing criminal charges as well as expulsion, and could be be expelled without [recourse] to appeal or oversight, as required by law.”

It notes that in March, the Moked Center for the Defense of the Individual sent a letter to GOC Central Commander Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, stating the orders had grave implications. That letter did not receive a response.

The organizations sent copies of yesterday’s letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and to military justice officials as well.

Publication of the matter has aroused major concern among those whom the orders would affect: People with Gaza addresses who live in the West Bank, and foreigners with family in the West Bank whom Israel has not allowed to obtain residency through family unification. As a result of the media interest, the IDF spokesman issued a clarification stating: “The law in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] permitted the expulsion of illegal residents in the past, too. The aim of the amendment to the order on infiltration is to enable a judicial review process for the expulsion proceedings … by a committee headed by a judge, and therefore to provide additional oversight.”

Lawyers Elad Kahana and Ido Blum of the Moked Center said the IDF response fails to address the primary order regarding infiltrators, which does address judicial oversight at all. They told Haaretz that the change now permits almost anyone in the West Bank to be defined as an illegal infiltrator and be subject to expulsion. They say the other order actually thwarts judicial oversight, because it allows for expulsion within three days or less, while judicial oversight would apply only after eight days.

Urgent meetings were convened in Ramallah yesterday, and social activists and people at risk from the orders are planning an urgent meeting today, to demand that the Palestinian Authority and the diplomatic community take action.

The international media also has taken great interest in the story.

The head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, issued an official statement of condemnation, saying the military orders come from an apartheid state and turn Palestinians into criminals in their own homes, directly harming the Palestinians’ ability to manage their internal affairs.

Officials in Ramallah said they will report on the matter to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who will be in Germany today on his way a Madrid conference of donor countries.



IDF bid to expel West Bank Palestinians is a step too far
Haaretz Editorial

A new military order will take effect this week, enabling the army to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and prosecute them on infiltration charges, which carry long prison terms. The order, uncovered by Amira Hass in Haaretz yesterday, bears the signature of Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni in his previous capacity as commander of the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria.

The order’s vague language will allow army officers to exploit it arbitrarily to carry out mass expulsions, in accordance with military orders which were issued under unclear circumstances. The first candidates for expulsion will be people whose ID cards bear addresses in the Gaza Strip, including children born in the West Bank and Palestinians living in the West Bank who have lost their residency status for various reasons.

This would be a grave and dangerous move, unprecedented during the Israeli occupation. For years, Israel has used a heavy hand against the Palestinian population registry, trampling basic human rights such as the freedom to move one’s residence within the occupied territories. Many Palestinians’ lives have thus been made very difficult because they have been cut off from their previous places of residence without being able to return or legally register their new addresses.

The right of all Palestinians to choose where to live in the West Bank or Gaza marks a very low threshold for defining their human rights. Israel, which justifiably prevents Palestinians from returning to where they lived before 1948 and does not offer them fair compensation for their property (while enabling Jews to recover property from the same period, as has happened in Sheikh Jarrah), cannot expel Palestinians from the occupied territories on the basis of dubious bureaucratic claims.

Implementing this new military order is not only likely to spark a new conflagration in the territories, it is liable to give the world clear-cut proof that Israel’s aim is a mass deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank. While all Jews can settle wherever they wish, in Israel or in the territories, Israel is trying to deprive the Palestinians of even the minimal right to choose where to live in the West Bank or Gaza. The prime minister and defense minister should immediately shelve this military order before the IDF feels free to begin carrying out expulsions.

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