Ma'an News Agency
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat called on US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, among others, to immediately intervene and pressure Israel to revoking a military order mandating the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank defined as "infiltrators."

Erekat further issued the same communique to EU Mideast representative Marc Otte, the UN's special coordinator for the peace process, Robert Serry, Russia's special envoy to the region, Alexander Saltanov, and Quartet envoy, Tony Blair.

The PLO official described the orders "racist" and a "flagrant violation of all past agreements, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention," in particular article 49, which prohibits any kind of forcible transfer as well as the deportation of protected persons and civilians from the occupied territory.

According to the Israeli human rights group Hamoked, the two orders allow for a broad definition of an infiltrator and suggests they apply to every person present in the West Bank, regardless of his status, identity or nationality.

Erekat added that the Israeli army would be permitted to deport any person living in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank. "This decision targets Palestinians in the West Bank who have come from Gaza," he added.

The letter was further delivered to all ambassadors, consulates and representatives in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

The Palestine Center for Human Rights strongly condemned the orders and called on Israel not to implement them. "These orders form part of the criminal policy that Israel has developed over the years against the Palestinian people; this policy combine occupation, apartheid, colonization and forced displacement of the population," a statement read.

The Palestinian human rights group added that the orders represent a means for Israel to "control and alter the demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territories, and ultimately impose a Jewish majority in Israel and the occupied territory."

These new orders, PCHR wrote, ostensibly enacted as ‘security measures’ – are, in fact, aimed at legitimizing the forcible transfer and deportation of the civilian population, and further called on the international community to take action and put an end to "illegal population transfer, segregation and displacement that is taking place."

"PCHR reminds that States Parties to the Geneva Convention have the duty to ensure respect for the conventions in all circumstance."

On Sunday, the Israeli rights group HaMoked sounded the alert over two signed military orders awaiting implementation give military officials broad and almost total control over the deportation of Palestinians whose residency status in the West Bank is called into question.

Hamoked alleged that the order will be used to deport residents of Gaza from the West Bank, and will likely also target foreign passport holders and non-Palestinian spouses of West Bank residents.

The center said tens of thousands of Palestinians and West Bank residents could be caught in the net of the orders, which Israeli journalist Amira Hass said in a Sunday report were "expected to clamp down on protests in the West Bank."

The new orders, by substantively changing the definition of an “infiltrator,” HaMoked said in a statement "effectively apply [the term] to anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit," noting "the orders do not define what Israel considers a valid permit," and that "the vast majority of people now living in the West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be present therein."


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