[Pnews] Deportation as Policy: Palestinian Prisoners & Detainees Systematically and Unlawfully Deported

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 18 10:09:07 EDT 2016



*_April 18, 2016


Deportation of protected persons from occupied territory into the 
occupying state constitutes an unlawful deportation as per Article 49 of 
the Fourth Geneva Convention - as well as constituting a grave breach of 
the same Convention under Article 147 – and is also recognized as a war 
crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal 
Court.  More specifically, Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention – 
which draws heavily from Article 49 - stipulates that an Occupying Power 
may not detain residents of the occupied territory in prisons outside of 
the occupied territory.


Despite these unequivocal legal provisions, Israeli occupying forces 
systematically transfer Palestinian detainees from inside the occupied 
West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to locations inside Israel. Upon 
arrest, Palestinians are typically taken to one of four interrogation 
centers or one of four detention centers across the occupied territory 
and within the occupying state, and ultimately to one of 17 prisons. 
Only one of these prisons is located inside the occupied territory. This 
systematic and illegal transfer of Palestinians from the occupied 
territory also carries with it a human impact – the consequence is that 
Palestinian relatives of prisoners and detainees who then require a 
permit to enter Israel are regularly denied family visitation permits, 
based on “security grounds”. From observations by Addameer based on 
accounts of family members, these permits are systematically denied for 
male family members aged between 16 and 35. Overall, the ongoing 
deportation of Palestinians detainees presents not just significant 
human implications, but also operates as part of a wider Israeli 
impunity for international crimes which threatens to erode the relevance 
of international law generally.

Palestinian prisoners who are transferred from the Gaza Strip and into 
Israel are subjected to arbitrary measures depriving them of their 
fundamental human rights, arguably as acts of collective punishment 
during wars on Gaza and its resident population. For example, in 2006, 
Israel denied Palestinians living in Gaza family visits based on 
“unspecified security reasons”. In 2009, the Israeli Supreme Court 
(sitting as the High Court of Justice) rejected an appeal that contested 
the legality of this policy claiming that Palestinians from Gaza have no 
right to enter Israel.[1] <http://www.addameer.org/publications/#_ftn1> 
In 2014, these visitations were reinstated but with restrictions 
applied, and only up to once a month.


Threats of deportation are used by Israel during interrogation as a form 
of pressure in order to coerce Palestinian detainees into providing a 
confession. On October 25 2013, occupation forces arrested 21-year-old 
Rana Abu Kweek, after a night raid on her home in Ramallah. Rana’s hands 
were tied behind her back, and she was blindfolded and taken to a 
military jeep. Inside the jeep she was forced to lay down facing the 
floor. At an unknown military base she was blindfolded for three hours 
and then taken back to the jeep. Several hours later she arrived at a 
military checkpoint, and then transferred to Ashkelon, where she was 
denied food and access to the bathroom. She recounted:

/“I arrived Ashkelon detention center by the evening. Shortly after 
arrival, a long interrogation began. It lasted until the next day. I 
would be allowed to have short breaks in between, each break lasting 
less than 30 minutes, followed by a new round of interrogation. I was 
threatened to get deported to Gaza if I did not ‘confess’….”/

Mohammad Rabe’, who was arrested on July 27 2014 near Bitar checkpoint 
in close proximity to his village in Bethlehem recounted:

/“At the end of the interroga//ti//on, they o//ff//ered to transfer me 
to Gaza in exchange to stop the interroga//ti//on. The interrogator said 
if the sentence was not long, they would transfer me to 
administra//ti//ve deten//ti//on. They advised me to accept the Gaza 
Strip transfer o//ff//er, considering it best for everyone.”/[2] 

Mohammed Khatib from Hebron, a food supplies sales agent, a married man 
and father of a baby girl, who was arrested on 17 June 2014 and was 
subsequently subjected to 39 days under interrogation, recounted his 
interrogation at Petah Tikva:

/“I was handcuffed to the sides of an interrogation chair, and they were 
threatening to bring all the members of my family, and demolish the 
house, and threatened to beat and imprison me for long periods and with 
deportation to Gaza.”/


Deportation to the Gaza Strip is also used by Israeli forces as a 
condition of release. On 31 January 2012, occupation forces re-arrested 
38 year old Ayman Al-Sharawneh from Hebron, in the West Bank, under 
article 186 of Israeli Military Order 1651 - which allows the re-arrest 
of prisoners who were released under prisoner exchange deals - based on 
“secret information”. Al-Sharawneh had been released in the Wafa 
Al-Ahrar exchange deal after spending 10 years in Israeli prisons. He 
was sentenced to serve the remainder of the 28 years of his original 
sentence, based on information to which he and his attorney did not have 
access. Al-Sharawneh announced a hunger strike on 01 July 2012, and 
after a partial hunger strike of 260 days, he was released on 17 March 
2013 and deported to Gaza for a period of 10 years, as a term of his 

Iyad Abu Fannoun, from Battir village in Bethlehem, was also arrested on 
24 April 2012, by Article 186 of Military Order 1651, after having been 
released under the 2011 prisoner exchange deal, and having spent eight 
years in Israeli prisons. He was deported on 04 July 2013 to the Gaza 
Strip after completing a deal for release stipulating deportation of 10 
years to the Gaza Strip. Hunger Striking administrative detainee Hana 
Shalabi from Jenin, who was on hunger strike for 43 days in protest at 
her continued detention without charge or trial, was deported on 01 
April 2012 to the Gaza Strip as a condition of her release. This period 
of deportation was set at three years. By the end of 2013, occupation 
forces had deported the following four Palestinians to the Gaza Strip: 
Hana’ Shalabi, Ayman Al- Sharawneh, Iyad Abu Fannoun, and Ayman Abu 
Daoud, following long periods on hunger strike.


Currently, as of March 2016, the Israeli Knesset is seeking approval of 
the deportation of family members of Palestinians who allegedly 
committed attacks against Israeli police forces, soldiers, settlers, or 
civilians to the Gaza Strip, in contravention of the prohibition against 
the deportation of protected individuals as stipulated in Article 49 of 
the Fourth Geneva Convention. This policy would also constitute a 
measure of collective punishment, which is prohibited under 
international human rights and humanitarian law.


Though Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention does provide certain, 
limited grounds under which temporary evacuations of civilians are 
permitted, “[s]uch evacuations may not involve the displacement of 
protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except 
when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such 
displacement.”[3] <http://www.addameer.org/publications/#_ftn3> The 
requirement that “any sentence of imprisonment must be served in the 
occupied territory itself [as per Article 76] is based on the 
fundamental principle forbidding deportations laid down in Article 
49”.[4] <http://www.addameer.org/publications/#_ftn4> In the case of 
Israel’s deportation of Palestinian detainees from the West Bank, it 
cannot be reasonably contended that material reasons exist which render 
the imprisonment of Palestinians inside the West Bank an impossibility. 
To the contrary, Israel’s ability to detain Palestinian prisoners inside 
the West Bank is one clearly demonstrated by the presence and use of 
Ofer prison, for instance, for this precise purpose.


In response to petitions submitted by human rights groups, highlighting 
the illegality of Israel’s deportation of Palestinian detainees, the 
Israeli Supreme Court has held that such deportations are lawful insofar 
as Israeli domestic law – which permits such deportations – takes 
primacy over international law in the event of any direct conflict 
between the two. Such a position, however, represents a clear 
contravention of Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of 
Treaties, which asserts that a party may not invoke the provisions of 
its internal law as justification for a failure to perform a treaty 


Unlawful deportation is an act which confers legal obligations on third 
party states, with Common Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention 
stipulating that “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and 
to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances”. 
Commentary from the International Committee of the Red Cross develops 
this provision further, concluding that Common Article 1 is “generally 
interpreted as enunciating a responsibility on third States not involved 
[…] to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the parties 
to an armed conflict by means of positive action. Third States have a 
responsibility, therefore, to take appropriate steps — unilaterally or 
collectively — against parties to a conflict who are violating 
international humanitarian law, in particular to intervene with states 
or armed groups over which they might have some influence to stop the 
violations.”^^[5] <http://www.addameer.org/publications/#_ftn5> 
Furthermore, as a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus 
one of the most heinous classifications of war crime, High Contracting 
Parties are obligated to search for individuals alleged to have 
committed – or to have ordered to be committed – acts of deportation, 
and to bring such persons before a domestic court or, alternatively, to 
hand such persons over to another High Contracting Party so that they 
may be brought before a court of law.^^[6] 

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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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