LAW PROF WARNS THAT ISRAEL’S PLANNED EXPULSION OF ITS CITIZENS FROM KATIF AND FROM SAMARIA WOULD VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW WHICH PROTECTS HUMAN DIGNITY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
by David Bedein, MSW, Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency, http://www.israelbehindthenews.com
Friday, April 30th, 2004.
Eliav Schochetman Hebrew Professor of Law Emeritus and the Dean of the Shaari Mishpat Law College, gave a briefing on the subject of “The implications of forcible expulsion in the light of Israeli civil rights law and in light of international law”.
The briefing was held at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem, and sponsored by a foundation grant to the Center for Near East Policy, located in Wellesley, Mass.
Prof Schochetman prefaced his remarks with a reference to the days of monarchs and dictators who make decrees which often result in orders to expel people from their homes, at a time when regimes legislated no constraints concerning any consideration of human dignity, civil liberties and basic human freedoms.
Regarding the constraints on such matters in Israel, Prof. Schochetman mentioned the state of Israel preserves its democratic system under the constraints of The Israel Basic Human Dignity Law which oversees Israeli democratic institutions in matters of human rights and civil liberties, much as the US Bill of Rights ensures that the US government can never trample on the human rights and civil liberties of American citizens.
The Israeli law is also based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which all democratic governments are adherents.
Prof. Schochetman quoted numerous court cases in which Israel Chief Justice Aharon Barak invoked the Israel Basic Human Dignity Law to intervene on behalf of Israeli citizens whose civil liberties and human rights had been abused. He asserted that in the current situation, given the legal precedents from Israeli court cases and from court cases around the world, any Israeli government decision to expel people from their homes, even in the context of a diplomatic move, would represent a wanton violation of basic human rights and civil liberties that are protected under Israeli and international human rights law.
Prof. Schochetman cited clause 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,which states that it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their own citizens from their homes, their private properties or from their farms.
Prof. Schochetman applied Universal Declaration of Human Rights constraint to the proposed policy of the Prime Minister of Israel, whose April 18th plan, featured at www.pmo.gov.il,. would mandate that Israeli citizens would be expelled from 21 communities in Katif and from 4 communities in the Northern Samaria region.
Since the only group slated for expulsion would be Jews, it may be recalled that he government of Serbia was recently held liable for international prosecution at the International High Court of Justice in the Hague, under the charge of “ethnic cleansing”, after leaders of Serbia expelled an ethnic minority, solely because of their
Prof. Schochetman invoked another aspect of international law, the 1921 San Remo legislation of the League of Nations, reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, which serves to protect and defend the right of Jews to purchase land anywhere west of the Jordan River, along with the legal briefs of Dr Eugene Rostow, the author of UN
Resolution #242, in which Rostow wrote that no peace arrangement should preclude the eminent right of Jews to settle anywhere in the state of Israel.
Regardless of what happens in the Likud referendum on May 2nd, Prof. Shochetman noted that no expulsion of landowners in Katif or Samaria could take place without a decision of Israel’s Knesset parliament that would hold up under international human rights law and Israel civil liberties statutes.
No one in the Israeli government has bothered to even communicate with the 8,000 residents of Katif concerning the fate of their 325 farms , their property and their lives.
More than a month ago, I wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Olmert, the prime advocate of the Sharon Plan, to ask him about what the government has in store for the Israeli citizens who are supposed to be removed from their homes and livelihood.
Olmert would not answer, nor has he related to anyone in the media about the fate of Israeli citizens who face expuslion from their homes.
However, the Israel Prime Minister’s office manager and personal lawyer, Dov Weissglass, declared to the media on April 17th after returning from the Bush Sharon meeting that he is seeking a “responsible Palestinian factor” to take over the property From the Katif communities. Weissglass has professional experience with “Palestinian factors”, since his law firm represented the Palestinian casino operation in Jericho and the head of PLO finance, Mr. Mohammad Rashid.
On April 27th, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Reuters News Agency confirmed Israel’s offer that Israel was indeed offering the homes and property intact to the Palestinians. All this at a time when the preamble of the Sharon Plan states that there is “reliable Palestinian peace partner”.
On May 2nd, Israel Deputy Mayor Ehud Olmert is scheduled to address the groundbreaking ceremony of the Museum of Human Dignity, preceded by an address to the Board of Governers of that new venture.
How a deputy prime minister of a sovereign nation can speak about human dignity while ignoring the human dignity of some of his own citizens which may become an unexpected newsworthy event of the day.