On Sunday, Israeli colonialist settlers, accompanied by many soldiers, invaded large areas of Palestinian lands in the al-Baq’a area, east of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Resident Aref Jaber told the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) the invasion is the seventeenth in recent months and added that the colonists are trying to illegally annex the lands from their Palestinian owners to establish an outpost.

Jaber added that the families have repeatedly filed complaints with the army; however, the colonists continue to invade the land despite the military presence and said that the soldiers continue to protect the invaders instead of removing them.

Jaber also said that he personally filed five complaints with the Israeli police, but the settlers continue to invade the lands as part of their attempts to establish a new outpost.

In related news, Israeli forces kicked Palestinian farmers out of their land in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, WAFA said.

Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, in addition to various United Nations and Security Council resolutions.

Background – Amnesty International:

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.

As the occupier, Israel is therefore forbidden from using state land and natural resources for purposes other than military or security needs or for the benefit of the local population. The unlawful appropriation of property by an occupying power amounts to “pillage”, which is prohibited by both the Hague Regulations and Fourth Geneva Convention and is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and many national laws.

Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, does not respect any of these rules and exceptions. Transferring the occupying power’s civilians into the occupied territory is prohibited without exception.

Furthermore, as explained earlier, the settlements and associated infrastructure are not temporary, do not benefit Palestinians, and do not serve the legitimate security needs of the occupying power.

Settlements entirely depend on the large-scale appropriation and/or destruction of Palestinian private and state property which are not militarily necessary. They are created with the sole purpose of permanently establishing Jewish Israelis on occupied land.

In addition to being violations of international humanitarian law, key acts required for the establishment of settlements amount to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Under this body of law, the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” and 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” constitute war crimes. As stated above, “pillage” is also a war crime under the Rome Statute.

Israel’s settlement policy also violates a special category of obligations entitled peremptory norms of international law (jus cogens) from which no derogation is permitted.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed that the rules of the Geneva Conventions constitute “intransgressible principles of international customary law”. Only a limited number of international norms acquire this status, which is a reflection of the seriousness and importance with which the international community views them. Breaches of these norms give rise to certain obligations on all other states, or “third states”, which are explained below.

Video By the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)