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Transfer of Israeli Population

Transfer of Israeli Population:

"The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention

With the onset of the occupation, Israel, the Occupying Power, began to transfer parts of its own population to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. These Israelis were settled on illegally acquired Palestinian land in what came to be known as Israeli settlements. Such population transfers are explicitly forbidden under the 4th Geneva Convention specifically to prevent colonization and annexation.

In the initial stage of this process, Israel claimed that the settlements were being built for "security" based reasons. At a later stage, however, more ideological reasons were given to justify this illegal expansionist policy. To date, Israel has transferred more than 500,000 settlers into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including an estimated 185,000 who live in ten settlements in the illegally expanded boundaries of East Jerusalem. The Israeli government provides considerable financial incentives and other forms of assistance to the settlers to encourage them to move to the Occupied Territory. Most of the settlers are armed and, as evidenced by the many incidents of violence perpetrated by them, have been a real and serious threat to the safety of Palestinian civilians.

It is also imperative to recall the Rome Statute (1998) of the International Criminal Court, article 8 (b) (viii) states “The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory” are considered war crimes.

The Israeli transfer of its own population, coupled with the illegal acquisition of land, the abuse of natural resources and the establishment of a dual system of law, has created a clear situation of colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.