Political and conventional policy has not put an end to Israel settlement policy, but it enhances the Israeli expropriate of Palestinian lands, Secretary General of the Christian Islamic Organization for Supporting of Jerusalem and Holy Sites, Hanna Issa said.

Issa said, in a statement on Wednesday, that settlement is a war crime under the article VIII, paragraph 8, of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Occupied Palestinian lands are subjected to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which prohibits and criminalizes all acts of seizing Palestinian land, forced eviction, settlement, and changing the demographic composition of the country.

He explained, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the Palestinian Authority (PA) controls 18% of occupied Palestinian lands (“Area A”), under the signed conventions, while “B” areas constituted 21% of occupied lands in 1976, where the PA would have civilian powers only, under joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.

He pointed that the largest part of Palestinian lands are categorized as “C” areas, in addition to East Jerusalem, which are under Israeli civil and security control. Thus, the PA has no authority over these areas, but limited powers relating to the Palestinian population, in some of those areas

He pointed out that the West Bank, East Jerusalem  and the Gaza Strip are still under Israeli occupation according to the international law, despite Israeli unilateral withdrawal in 2005.

He added that settlement expansion policy is illegal under international humanitarian law. Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907 states that the Occupying Power may not confiscate private property. Article 55 provides that the occupying power shall be deemed to be the administrator of the territory of the occupied country, private property.

He explained that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, article 49, states: “the Occupying Power shall not have the right to transfer its citizens to the territories it occupies or to carry out any action leading to its demographic change.”

Article 53 also states that “the occupation forces shall not have the right to destroy individual or collective personal property or the property of individuals or of the state or of any authority of the occupied state.”

UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions have condemned Israeli policies in all its forms, in the occupied Palestinian territories, whether it be the seizure of Palestinian land for various military purposes, the construction of Israeli settlements, the creation of bypass roads, or other examples.

After the war of June 1967, Israel seized the state-owned princely lands, mainly for military and military purposes, and sought to build large and scattered settlements in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, to Judaize the area, absorb immigrants, acquire and requisition the necessary land, to form a vital perimeter for army camps and settlements.

Issa said that the basic legal obligation of “Israel,” as an occupying power of the Palestinian territories, is to committed by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, until the final demise of the occupation from all parts of the West Bank, including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

(edited for the IMEMC by c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g)