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Ashrawi: 'Legalizing illegal outpost is an outrageous travesty'

Aug. 29, 2018 3:31 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 12:14 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, said a statement on Wednesday that Jerusalem District Court's ruling to legalize the illegal settlement outpost of Mitzpeh Kramim is an "outrageous travesty."

The Jerusalem District Court ruled that if Israeli settlers of the illegal settlement of Mitzpeh Kramim, located north of the central occupied West bank city of Ramallah, built the settlement with "good intentions" then it should not be removed. It is noteworthy, that the Mitzpeh Kramim was illegally built on private Palestinian-owned land.

The ruling was in contradiction with previous court rulings forcing the Israeli government to remove outposts built without consent on private Palestinian land in the occupied territories.

Ashrawi said in a statement "The Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, whether on public or private land, and its illegal settlement enterprise are an egregious violation of international law and conventions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334; it also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Fourth Geneva Convention."

She continued "This ruling must be nullified as it makes a dangerous precedent of retroactively whitewashing illegal outposts and encouraging further lawlessness and acts of violence by the extremist settler population that is terrorizing the Palestinian people, particularly in rural areas and remote villages."

She added that it also provides the Israeli settlers with further motivation "to steal the private property of Palestinian landowners throughout occupied Palestine without any curbs or accountability."

Ashrawi stressed that such a decision exposes "how Israel is distorting its own legal and judicial systems in the service of its settler colonialist expansionism while targeting the land, lives and rights of the vulnerable Palestinian people."

Ashrawi also condemned Israeli Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, for declaring plans to ease restrictions for Israeli settlers to obtain gun licenses. She said "If enacted, this would further embolden Israeli settlers to pursue their criminal reign of terror in the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem."

In July, the Israeli government announced plans to ease restrictions on Israeli settler's gun ownership in the near future through legal changes that would make all Israeli citizens with firearms training eligible for a gun permit.

The proposed plans would apply in particular to Israeli settlers living near Israel's West Bank separation wall, which cuts through the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"It has become a matter of extreme urgency for the United Nations to implement the available options that provide protection to Palestine decisively and effectively and for the ICC to activate a case against the settlers for their criminality, including land theft," Ashrawi explained.

Ashrawi called on the international community to act on its own decisions and principles to hold Israel accountable for its actions, and to demonstrate both the will and courage to defend the global legal and political system.

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