RAMALLAH, October 31, 2017 (WAFA) - PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi Tuesday condemned what she described as “the dangerous plan” proposed by Israel’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin aimed at ethnic cleansing Palestinians from Jerusalem by splitting off the Palestinian neighborhoods situated next to the Apartheid Wall from the so-called Jerusalem Municipality, placing them under a new Israeli jurisdiction.
Elkin’s plan specifically targets Shufat refugee camp, Kufr Aqab, al-Walaja, and a small part of al-Sawahreh. The measure is expected to affect between 100,000 to 150,000 Palestinians living in these neighborhoods.
“Should this be adopted, such a deplorable plan would forcibly displace thousands of indigenous Palestinian Jerusalemites and transform their status to ‘non-existence,’ depriving them of the most basic rights and services, including shelter, healthcare and education. It is beyond a doubt that Israel is deliberately working to erase the Palestinian presence from our occupied capital and to distort the demographic, cultural, religious, and political character of the city,” said Ashrawi.
The PLO official said the proposal is a direct breach of international law and conventions.
UN Security Council Resolution 476 stipulates that “measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Furthermore, under Article IV of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (September 13, 1993), “the two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit,” and according to Article XXXI (7) of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (September 28, 1995), “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
“Without any remorse, Israel is flagrantly preventing the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said Ashrawi, calling on the international community “to intervene immediately and to collectively exhibit the political will to hold Israel to account with punitive measures for its unlawful violations against the Palestinian people.”
She concluded: “With each barrier implemented by the Israeli government, we will continue to utilize the necessary multilateral and diplomatic means to seek justice and protection for the Palestinian people and to obtain our freedom, dignity and sovereignty on our own land.”