On Monday, August 19, 2002, LAW's lawyer Aazem Bishara filed a petition
at the office of the Attorney General of the Israeli army, demanding an
interim injunction against three Israeli military orders which allow
actual land and property confiscation for the purpose of constructing
Israel's apartheid wall.
The petition was filed on behalf of 34 Palestinian families from various
villages located along the 'Green Line', the demarcation line between
Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Deir al-
Ghusoun, Shweika, Tel, Farasin, Baqa Sharkia and Kafin. The wall will be
either build on their land, separates them from their land, prevents
access to their land, or benefit from their land.
The petition demands that the Attorney General annuls the three military
orders, 17/2002/T, 20/2002/T, 22/2002/T, which were issued by Israel's
military commander of the Westbank, Moshe Kaplinski, which state that the
Israeli army will 'cease' (confiscate) these lands until December 31,
The petition demands an interim injunction to prevent the start of the
construction until a decision concerning the matter has been made. In the
case, the demands are rejected, the petition argued that Israel's
apartheid wall would be built on the June 4, 1967 demarcation line and
not on occupied Palestinian land, or on the expense of Palestinians who
own deeds proving ownership of the land since the Jordanian
administration and the British Mandate.
The military orders and the construction of the wall violates basic
principles of international (humanitarian) law. The Hague Regulations
prohibit the occupying power to undertake permanent changes in the
occupied area, unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense
of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local
The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip ('Oslo II') of September 28, 1995, provides that 'neither side
shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status
negotiations'. Moreover, the agreement states that 'the two sides view
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, the
integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim
period'. Moreover, territorial jurisdiction is defined as the Gaza Strip
territory, except for the settlements and Israeli installations, and the
West Bank territory, except for Area C which, 'except for the issues that
will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be
gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in three phases'.
Israel started preparations for the construction of its apartheid wall on
June 16, 2002, near the village Salem, west of Jenin, towards the north,
reaching Tulkarem. Israeli officials have stated that the wall will be
finished by the end of this year. The wall will separate fourteen
villages and isolate them from their agricultural lands. The barrier will
be 115 kilometres (70 miles) long, it will include fences, trenches and
security patrols. And this is only the first phase, eventually it is
meant to extend the full 350-km (220 mile) length of the West Bank.
LAW believes that the construction of the apartheid wall, including land
confiscations for the purpose of the construction of the wall, violates
basic principles of international (humanitarian) law.
The form of apartheid Israel applies against Palestinians fulfils all
elements of the crime of apartheid as defined under the International
Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
(1976), which expressly states that the crime of apartheid 'shall include
similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination
as practiced in southern Africa' (art.2).
LAW condemns these flagrant violations of human rights and calls on the
international community to condemn racial segregation and apartheid and
undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. LAW urges the international
community to take effective measures to dismantle Israel's apartheid
system, lift the closure and siege on Palestinian towns and villages and
and ensure the freedom of movement.