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'Israel institutes military order 1650'

April 22, 2010 8:41 A.M. (Updated: April 22, 2010 8:56 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel authorities have deported a Palestinian prisoner to the Gaza Strip after he was released on Wednesday evening following a nine-year prison sentence, the Al-Mezan human rights center said Thursday.

Ahmed Said Sabbah, 38, who lives in Thanaba village east of Tulkarem in the West Bank, was told by an official from the prison administration that he would be released at Erez crossing in the Gaza Strip.

If he refused, he was told he would be detained for a further six months and face other measures as decided by the Israeli army. Sabbah’s family had been waiting for him at the Al-Thahria checkpoint in the West Bank.

Authorities did not give Sabbah the opportunity to appeal before any judicial or military committee or body, Al-Mezan said. "This actually violates the new military orders, which themselves violate international humanitarian law," the group said in a statement.

Al-Mezan asserts that Israeli military order 1650 gravely violates international law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War, of 1949, prohibits an occupying power from forcibly transferring protected persons, and limits the expulsion to very strict conditions.

The occupying power may undertake expulsion only if imperative military reasons so demand, which is not applicable to Sabbah's case because there are no hostilities in the West Bank at present, the group said.

Al-Mezan "strongly condemns the expulsion of Sabbah and expresses its deep concern regarding the risk that a large number" of Palestinians could be expelled under the military order.

The group asserts that the forcible transfer of Palestinians is only part of Israel’s violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, and calls on the international community, particularly the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to immediately intervene to stop the "continuous Israeli violations of human rights and IHL in the OPT and to provide international protection to the Palestinians in the OPT."

Sabbah was expelled to the Gaza Strip under the military order 1650 regarding the “Prevention of Infiltrators" in the West Bank. According to this order, the Israeli military commander could expel any person who is present in the West Bank without a permit from the army.
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