|PCHR Strongly Condemns Inauguration of Synagogue in Occupied East Jerusalem|
|Tuesday, 16 March 2010 00:00|
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns recent measures taken by Israel in East Jerusalem, the latest of which has been the inauguration of a synagogue in the old city. PCHR holds Israel responsible for the escalation of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). PCHR also confirms that East Jerusalem constitutes an integral part of the OPT, in which international humanitarian law and international human rights law is applicable. PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, and to ensure Israel's respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that if the international community does not make clear its position towards Israel's acting as a State above the law, Israel will be encouraged to continue violating international human rights and humanitarian law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have imposed a tightened closure on the old city in East Jerusalem for the sixth consecutive day. On Thursday, 11 March 2010, IOF started imposing increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the old city. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of Border Police officers established military checkpoints at the entrances of the old city, on all of the streets inside the walls of the old city, as well as on streets in the immediate vicinity. They prevented all those who were not residents of the old city from entering it. In addition, Palestinians under 50 years of age were not permitted to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, all gates to the al-Aqsa compound, with the exception of al-Majles, Hattah and al-Selselah gates, were closed. On Saturday, 13 March 2010, IOF closed al-Aqsa Secondary School for Girls, the Shari'a Secondary School and the Islamic Kindergarten of al-Aqsa, all of which are located inside al-Aqsa compound. These measures, which are still ongoing, came on the eve of the inauguration of a synagogue in al-Shorfah neighborhood. The synagogue is located 300 meters to the west of al-Aqsa Mosque and was inaugurated yesterday, on Monday, 15 March 2010.
PCHR strongly condemns all forms of settlement activities in East Jerusalem, including the inauguration of a synagogue, and:
1. Confirms that East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 05 June 1967, constitutes an integral part of the OPT;
2. The inauguration of a Jewish synagogue in East Jerusalem is considered a form of settlement activity, and thus constitutes a war crime under international humanitarian law.
3. Measures taken by Israel following the occupation of the city, particularly the Israeli Knesset's decision on 28 June 1967 to annex the occupied city to the Israeli territories, the Knesset's decision on 30 July 1980 stating that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel" and the decision to expand Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, constitute grave violations of international law and United Nations Resolutions.
4. All decisions taken and plans implemented by Israel in the occupied city do not change its legal status.
5. The recent IOF measures in Jerusalem serve to escalate the situation in the OPT.
In light of the above, PCHR calls upon:
1. The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or collectively, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, and ensure that Israel's respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community encourages Israel to act as a State above the law and to commit more violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
2. The international community to immediately intervene to compel the government of Israel to stop all settlement activities in the OPT, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.
3. The European Union (EU) and/or its individual member states to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which stipulates that Israel's respect for human rights is a condition for economic cooperation, and to demand Israel's respect for human rights. PCHR also calls upon the EU member states also to stop all forms of trade with Israeli goods, particularly those produced in Israeli settlements inside the OPT.
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