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EU Warns Israeli High Court against Forced Transfer of Palestinians

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JERUSALEM, August 9, 2012 (WAFA) - European Union heads of mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah Wednesday warned the Israeli High Court that a decision in favor of declaring a particular West Bank area as firing zone is tantamount to forced transfer of population under occupation, which is contrary to international law.

A statement issued by the EU heads of mission following a visit to eight communities facing the threat of demolition and displacement in the Southern Hebron Hills said if the High Court upholds an Israeli defense ministry decision to destroy the eight communities, then that entails the forced transfer of up to 1800 people from their communities.

The objective of the visit was to gain a first-hand impression of developments in the area, to demonstrate concern at the humanitarian impact of any house demolitions and forced transfer of population, and to express the EUs commitment to a sustainable future for the Palestinian communities in Area C, said the statement.

The group, who also met with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at Mufaqara village and who briefed them about the Palestinian Authority efforts and work to support the people of this area, started its visit at Jinba community where it met representatives from several communities in Area C and were briefed on recent developments in the Southern Hebron Hills, including the proceedings in the Israeli High Court with regard to communities situated in the designated Firing Zone 918.

The intention by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to prohibit permanent residence in the firing zone and thus to evacuate 8 communities (al-Majaz, a-Tabban, a-Sfay, al-Fakhit, al-Halaweh, al-Mirkez, Jinba, and al-Kharuba, all of which have been in existence from before the Firing Zone was declared) would if upheld by the High Court of Justice entail the forced transfer of up to 1800 people, contrary to Israels obligations as the Occupying Power, said the EU officials.

The designation of the area as a live firing zone would thus reduce further the opportunities for Palestinian communities to live and work in Area C and reduce further any potential of economic and social development for the Palestinians in this area of the occupied Palestinian territory, they said.

During their meeting with Fayyad, the group reaffirmed the strong commitment of the EU for the well being of the Palestinian people in Area C, and particularly those communities under the threat of demolition in the South Hebron Hills.

Fayyad had also warned during the tour of the eight communities that the Israeli decision would destroy the two-state solution and will be in violation of international and humanitarian law.

Forced transfer of population is clear and obvious violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, he said, promising the area residents to do what he can to help them defeat the Israeli intentions aimed at emptying that entire area of its Palestinian inhabitants.

M.S.

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