Human Rights Watch has warned that stripping some 15,000 Palestinians of their right to live in al-Quds since 1967 could amount to a “war crime.”
“Israel claims to treat [occupied] Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians,” said the international right group’s Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, in a report published on Tuesday.
From June 5 to 10, 1967, the Six-Day War was fought between the Israeli regime on one side and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other. At the end of that war, Israel occupied the West Bank, al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israeli regime later withdrew from Gaza but laid a siege on it. The war and Israel’s ensuing land seizure displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.
Since then, 14,595 Palestinians have had their residence status revoked, a move which effectively stops them from remaining in the city of their birth, said Whitson.
“Residency revocations often effectively force Palestinians from [occupied] east Jerusalem, who are protected by virtue of Israel’s occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to leave the territory they live in,” she added.
Regime of Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967; but the Tel Aviv regime has been in non-compliance of that piece of international law ever since.
“Deportation or forced transfers of any part of the population of an occupied territory could amount to war crimes,” she noted.
The report came just a few days after an Israeli court decided to revoke the citizenship of a young Arab-Israeli man over his purported involvement in an attack against Israeli troops in the northern occupied territories two years ago.
HRW's director for the occupied Palestinian territories, Omar Shakir, said that revoking Zayoud's nationality "would render him stateless, in violation of Israel's obligations under international human rights law".
About 1.4 million Arab Israelis, making up some 18 percent of Israel’s population, live within the occupied territories. They are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land even after the creation of the Zionist regime in 1948.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into al-Aqsa Mosque compound in al-Quds in August 2015. More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.