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Jordan Valley, occupied Palestinian territory: Israel's ethnic cleansing program continues
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House/village demolition, forced eviction, dispossession, use of force, deprivation of the means of subsistence and ethnic cleansing The disturbing news requires your urgent action.

Urgent Action Appeal

Case PAL–FEDN 270807

Jordan Valley, occupied Palestinian territory: Israel's ethnic cleansing program continues

House/village demolition, forced eviction, dispossession,

use of force, deprivation of the means of subsistence and ethnic cleansing

The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), a thematic group of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) Members, has received information from local organizations, including Stop the Wall Coalition, about consistently increasing housing and land rights violations in the Jordan Valley. The disturbing news requires your URGENT ACTION.

Brief description

Since the start of the summer of 2007, the Israeli government has stepped up its efforts to cleanse the Jordan Valley of its indigenous Palestinian inhabitants, most recently adding the Bedouin villages of al-Hadidiya and Humsa to a long list of towns to be eliminated. (See previous HLRN Urgent Action on the Jordan Valley at: http://www.hlrn.org/cases_files/PAL-DN%20280507-full.doc ). Between 09:00 and 10:00 am on 14 August 2007, the Israeli government began its destruction of al-Hadidiya with the demolition of two homes, belonging to `Abdullah Hafiz Yusuf Bani `Udah and `Abdullah Husain Bisharat, including their animal enclosures.[i] The residents were given only 5 minuts to collect their belongings. Five days later, Government forces returned and destroyed four more homes and two water tanks, the only source of water for the village's residents.

Two weeks later, at 8:00 am on 23 August 2007, ten military jeeps and a bulldozer razed al-Hadidiya, leaving its residents, including children, without shelter from the scorching August sun. In addition to leaving the residents homeless, Israeli authorities sought to force villagers away from their native lands by confiscating portable water tanks, the only source of water for many residents. Villagers who have been the most outspoken about the Israeli Government's illegal actions have been the most brutalized in the recent cycle of the cleansing campaign. For their part, the Israeli occupation authorities in the Jordan Valley have stated that the residents of al-Hadidiya and Humsa were living in a “closed military” zone and, as such, needed to be removed for their “own safety.” This is in contradiction to the fact that the illegal Jewish settler colony of Roi, which occupies part of al-Hadidiya's lands, and, therefore, also is within the alleged 'military zone' remains intact and untouched. The expulsion of the villagers of al-Hadidiya and Humsa will add nearly 200 more to the six million Palestinian refugees already driven from their lands. The Israeli governement has stepped up the pressure on the villagers since the start of 2007, yet, Israel policies aimed at the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the expulsion of its Palestinian population commenced immediately after the start of the Occupation of the West Bank in 1967. Parts of the Libqa’a plains, where al-Hadidiya and Humsa are located, were declared military closed zones or military training areas, others were swallowed by settlement construction.

The cycles of ethnic cleansing currently taking place in the Jordan Valley are part of the concerted efforts of the PM Ehud Olmert Government to illegally to expand Israel's territories and Judaize the land by forcibly maintaining a Jewish majority. In a television interview with PM Olmert recorded on 7 February 2006, he announced his plans unilaterally to draw final borders for Israel, which includes the complete annexation of the Jordan valley so as to leave any future Palestinian state in the West Bank completely surrounded by Israel and without direct link to any of its Arab neighbours.[ii] Then Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz supported Olmert's goal, announcing that: "If we won't be able to reach agreed-upon borders, we will operate in a different way, which it is not appropriate to detail now ... we don't need to wait for someone else to impose our fate. In the coming years, and I'm talking about a few years, the final borders of the state of Israel will be set down, and the future of most of the settlements in [the West Bank] and the Jordan Valley will be decided in these two years."[iii]

Duty Holders

The Israeli government is the primary duty holder. Its dispossession of the indigenous Palestinians in this currently targeted territory is carried out through its political, judicial and security institutions, illegally annexing indigenous Palestinians’ land, water and natural resources; preventing their access to their means of subsistence and vital resources; and conducting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians for benefit of its colonizing Jewish population. Israeli parastatal institutions—especially the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and World Zionist Organization (WZO)—also have been supporting, funding, cooperating and/or initiating these illegal actions. That belies the WZO and JNF self-promoted international public pretence as nongovernment and charitable institutions. The JNF and WZO, as parastatal organizations legislatively linked to the State of Israel, their essential, chartered purpose is to implant and expand settler colonies throughout the oPts, announcing and collecting contributions for more, despite “disengagement” projections, international public law prohibitions and the 2004 International Court of Justice opinion. In the United States alone, the JNF raised $52 million (tax-exempt) last year. It holds 13% of all land in Israel’s control and explicitly prohibits the sale or lease of land to non-Jews. In occupied Palestine, settler colonies in the Jordan Valley grew most through 2005, aided by the ongoing program of the WZO Settlement Department and its affiliates, providing generous incentives to young Israeli settler couples.[iv]


Legal Aspects

International Human Rights and Humanitarian Treaty Violations

As a standard of international customary law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms in all circumstances that “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others...” and that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his [or her] property.” Further, the arbitrary deprivation of legal remedy contradicts also Israel’s treaty obligation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to respect and protect human life, even in time of public emergency.

These well-reported Israeli military practices also violate Palestinian inhabitants’ human right to adequate housing; i.e., the right of every woman, man and child to gain and sustain a secure place and community in which to live with peace and dignity. Targeted house demolitions represent a grave breach of humanitarian law, while the destruction and resulting forced evictions constitute a gross violation of human rights. Moreover, attacks on infrastructure especially violate housing rights provisions regulating accessibility, habitability and access to public goods and services, including drinking water, sanitation and energy.

The IOF generally do not inform the inhabitants in advance of individual house demolitions, do not allow inhabitants a chance to salvage their possessions or furniture, and the IOF do not provide required alternative housing or compensation to victims. As such, the IOF especially violates the affected Palestinians’ entitlements to security of tenure and freedom from dispossession; and rights to participation and self-expression; physical security; and adequate reparations for violations and losses. All of these rights and entitlements are elements of the human right to adequate housing as recognized in international law, including minimum obligations that Israel bears under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which it ratified on 3 January 1992.[v]

Action Requested:

Please write to the Israeli authorities, international officials, and/or your local politicians and media personnel demanding that:

  1. Israel cease its illegal actions against indigenous Palestinians and that the case of the people of al- Hadidiya be given immediate attention;
  2. Israel’s parastatal organizations (WZO and JNF) registered and operating internationally be correctly treated as foreign agents (representing a foreign State), and not as charitable organizations;
  3. and that both Israel and its parastatal organizations be held accountable for their conduct both in Palestine and internationally.

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For the complete case history or to support this appeal, please visit: http://www.hlrn.org/cases.php?id=99 . Alternatively, Sample Letters are attached for your convenience.

For the complete case a detailed report and the samples letters, please consult: http://www.hlrn.org/cases_files/PAL-FEDN%20270807-full.doc

Kindly inform HLRN of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply to: urgentactions@hlrn.org

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Addresses of Duty Holders:

In Israel

Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister of Israel

Prime Minister's Office

3 Kaplan St., Qiryat Ben Gurion
P.O. Box 187

Jerusalem 91919
Tel: +972 (0)2 670–5555
Fax: +972 (0)2 651–2631

Website: http://www.pmo.gov.il
E-mail: pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

Ronald S. Lauder, president

Jewish National Fund

JNF-USA Headquarters
42 East 69th Street
New York NY 10021, United States

Tel: +1 (888) 563–0099
Email:
communications@jnf.org

For International offices, please see: http://www.jnf.org.au/index.cfm?Action=links

Boaz Herman, director

World Zionist Organization

633 Third Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Tel: +1 (212) 339–6063

Fax: +1 (212) 318–6145

E-mail: aliyahny@jafi.org

For international offices, please see: http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/delegations/

Jim Schiller, president
Jewish Agency

Tel: +1 (212) 318–6100
Fax: +1 (212) 935–3578
Email:
azmpresident@comcast.net

For international offices, please see: http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Home/Jewish+Agency+Resources/JAFI+WZO+Related+Sites/WZO/Federations/United+States+of+America

Israeli Missions Abroad

Please contact the Israeli mission nearest you protesting Israel's actions. For a full listing of mission, visit:

http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/about%20the%20ministry/diplomatic%20missions/Web%20Sites%20of%20Israeli%20Missions%20Abroad

International Officials

H.E. Ban Ki-Moon

UN Secretary-General

UN Headquarters

UN Plaza

New York NY 10017, United States

E-mail: ecu@un.org, coi@un.org

H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed al-Khalifa
President of the UN General Assembly
United Nations Headquarters
Conference Building
New York NY 10017, United States

Tel: +1 (212) 963–2486, 963–5067
Fax: +1 (212) 963–3301, 963–3133
E-mail:
presidentga61@un.org

José Manuel Barroso

Office of the President

European Commission

1049 Brussels, Belgium

E-mail: sg-web-president@ec.europa.eu

Hans-Gert Poettering

President of European Parliament

Rue Wiertz
PHS 11B011
Brussels 1042, Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)2 284–9769

Fax: +33 (0)3 88 17 9769

E-mail: hpoettering@europarl.eu.int

hans-gert.poettering@europarl.europa.eu

sg-registre@cec.eu.int; sg-plaintes@cec.eu.int; Futurum@cec.eu.int

Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

P.O. Box 19519
The Hague 2500 CM, Netherlands

Tel. +31 (0)70 515–8515
Fax +31 (0)70 515–8555

Email: opt.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

Thomas Hammarberg

Commissioner for Human Rights

European Commission

Council of Europe

Strasbourg 67075 Cedex, France

Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
Fax: +33 (0)3 90 21 50 53

E-mails: commissioner@coe.int


[i][i] Including tuition assistance (up to NIS 12,000 annually), direct payments (up to NIS 12,000 annually for those working in the Jordan Valley) and housing subsidies. Lara Friedman and Dror Etkes. "Taking Inventory of the West Bank.", Settlements in Focus, Vol. 1, Issue 9 (9 September 2005), at: http://www.peacenow.org/briefs.asp?rid=&cid=1393.

[ii][ii] Chris McGreal, "Israel Unveils Plans to Encircle Palestinian State," The Guardian (8 February 2006), online edition at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1705021,00.html.

[iii][iii] Ibid.

[iv][i] "Action Alert: Al-Hadidiya and Hamsa (Jordan Valley) to be Evacuated." The Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, 25 August 2007, at: http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1513.shtml .

[v] As affirmed in UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comments Nos. 4 and 7 on the human right to adequate housing, in particular, the latter concerning forced evictions.



 
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