Pro-Palestinian state organization hints Israeli leaders, Chief of Staff would be tried for war crimes if illegal Arab outposts evacuated.
In a letter sent by the Executive Director of the pro-Palestinian state B’Tselem organization, it was implicitly threatened that the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and the IDF Chief of Staff would “bear personal responsibility” were Israel to enforce the law against illegal Palestinian Arab outposts in the Susiya and Ma’aleh Adumim areas.
A letter from Executive Director Hagai Elad implicitly suggests that the entire hierarchy of senior officials may be personally charged at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for war crimes.
The letter was sent against the background of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s statement last week that his ministry will be prepared within a few months to evacuate the two Arab outposts in accordance with the High Court’s instructions. following Defense Ministry staff work on enforcinf the law,
The evacuation of the outpost, located near the Jewish community of Susya in the southern Hevron hills, has been ordered several times. In 2001, the High Court ruled that the area did not belong to the squatters, and in 2013 prohibited continued construction in the area following a petition by the Regavim pro-Land of Israel organization. In 2014 the court ordered to demolish the structures erected due to the clear prohibition.
In May 2015, the High Court rejected the petitioners’ request for a temporary injunction preventing enforcement against them, on the grounds that they repeatedly took the law into their own hands.
In the case of the adjacent outpost of Khan al-Ahmar near Ma’aleh Adumim, which the Regavim movement petitioned against in 2009 and which in recent years has become the focus of activity by foreign elements, the state has committed itself in several High Court proceedings to demolish the illegal structures.
Elad argued that enforcing the law against Palestinian construction criminals is ostensibly tantamount to a “forced transfer”, and is therefore prohibited by international law. “The responsibility for destruction of Palestinian communities will be borne, among others, by the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the Justice Minister, and their ministerial colleagues, the Chief of Staff and other senior IDF officers, and the head of the Civil Administration, acting on the instructions of the government. We repeat to you that this is a war crime, and if it is carried out under your direction and responsibility, you will be personally responsible for this.”
In his letter, Elad also slammed the Supreme Court, accusing it of “complicity in the crime,” since it approved the demolition orders. “These decisions do not make these illegal acts legal, but on the contrary: they only turn those who received them into accomplices to the crime.”
Regev’s legal advisor, Boaz Arazi, categorically rejects claims that Israel violates international law: “In all, this is a group of criminal builders and the claim of ‘forcible transfer of a protected population’ is ridiculous and disconnected from reality under international law. It is Israel’s duty to enforce the internal law in Judea and Samaria vis-à-vis the population living in the area,” Arazi said.
“In addition, the Oslo Accords, which have international validity, state that Israel is solely responsible for all civilian and security aspects of Area C. Therefore, the claims in B’Tselem‘s letter are detached from reality and deliberately distort international law and the reality on the ground.”
Meir Deutsch, Policy Department Director at the Regavim movement, sharply attacks Elad’s letter. “B’Tselem has created legal terrorism that seeks to harm the State of Israel in any way, with a distorted presentation of reality and a false interpretation of the law. Up to now,, we have witnessed this behavior toward IDF soldiers, Jewish communities, and the Israeli government. Today Elad ‘spits’ on the High Court, and prefers to be the hangman from the Hague.”