Grave concern with military order threatening thousands of Palestinians with deportation or imprisonment
11 May 2010
The Israeli military has issued two orders that categorize thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank as “infiltrators” subject to deportation or imprisonment. Please write to Canadian and Israeli officials asking for an immediate reversal of these military orders.
(Update from May 2010: This report from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in the West Bank details the impact of one such order on a family: http://www.eappi.org/en/news/blog-its-time-to-speak-out.html?tx_wecdiscussion[single]=2138 )
The Israeli military has issued an amendment to military orders 1649 and 1650 effective April 13, 2010; these orders categorize tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank as “infiltrators.” This will allow the military to deport thousands of people in the West Bank to other areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The order will reduce thousands of people to the category of “illegal aliens” in their own homes. It will also confine Palestinians to their villages and further sever them from vital economic, health, education, and social centers. Palestinians found in contravention of the order could be subject to almost immediate deportation or jail terms of up to seven years.
Israel is party to the United Nations’ Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country… regardless of their motive.”
Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, noted on Monday, April 19, that “a wide range of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law could be linked to actions carried out by the Government of Israel under these Orders, with particular gravity in the event that young persons become victims of their application.”
We urge you to write to your Member of Parliament and cc Israeli authorities and Canadian government officials, expressing grave concern about the military order and its humanitarian and human rights impacts and asking the Canadian government to pressure Israel to rescind the orders.
Sample Letter to your Member of Parliament
(Date; your home address)
Dear [MP’s name]:
I write to you as a deeply concerned citizen who is dismayed by recent news of Israeli actions against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Amendments to two Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Orders took effect in the third week of April 2010. Military Orders 1649 and 1650 classify Palestinians in the West Bank who do not have documentation issued by the local Israel Defence Forces commander as “infiltrators” in their own land.
The military orders enable the IDF to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and prosecute them on charges of being infiltrators, which can result in long prison terms. It targets thousands of Palestinians from Gaza who work and live in the West Bank, Palestinians who have identification papers from neighbouring countries, and foreign women who are married to Palestinians residing in the West Bank.
The orders may also be used to expel Israeli and international human rights activists, including Canadians, from the West Bank. As the Israeli military has hundreds of fixed and mobile checkpoints throughout the Occupied Territories, it is impossible to travel any distance without being forced to go through military controls.
I ask you to raise this matter in the House of Commons. I request that the Government of Canada pressure the Israeli government to rescind these military orders. Canada and Israel share a strong relationship, as evidenced by the commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post this spring. Upholding international covenants signed by both nations should be a key part of that relationship.
Other people to include when you send your letter
Please cc the following people when you write to your Member of Parliament.
Here is a complete list of House of Commons MPs’ fax and phone numbers.
Surface mail letters can be sent to:
House of Commons,
K1A 0A6 (no postage needed if mailed within Canada.)
We are asking you to CC the Minister of Defence and the Israeli Ambassador to Canada in order to make it clear to them that you are expressing your concern to your own elected officials.
Ehud Barak, Minister of Defence,
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909
Her Excellency Miriam Ziv,
Israeli Ambassador to Canada
50 O’Connor Street Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2
For more information please contact:
KAIROS Human Rights Program Coordinator
1 877 403 8933 x224
Education Coordinator, Dignity and Rights
1 877 403 8933 x233