Independent UN investigators draw attention to ‘prima facie war crime’ in East Jerusalem


Independent UN investigators draw attention to 'prima facie war crime' in East Jerusalem

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Thursday, April 13, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090


  • They stated, “It amounts to a war crime at the very least.

  • Law that discriminates an estimated 150 Palestinian households in Jerusalem’s Old City neighbourhood are currently in danger of being forcibly evicted and relocated by Israeli settlers and authorities.

  • Three families in particular deserve attention since they are currently in danger: the Salems in Sheikh Jarrah, the Ghaith-Sub Labans in the Old City, and the Shehades in Silwan.

  • These families have endured years of eviction proceedings brought by settler organisations looking to seize their houses, despite the fact that they have lived in their homes for many decades under a secured tenancy lease.

  • Since the Israeli occupation’s entire design includes the suppression of human rights, they claimed, “the enjoyment of human rights is for the Palestinians a distant hope.

Independent UN investigators have called attention to the ongoing unrest in East Jerusalem in a combined statement. These academics have defined the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes as an ongoing and uncontrollable calamity. Israel’s own citizens moving into the occupied territory has been characterised as a deliberate plan to colonise the area, which is expressly forbidden by international humanitarian law. The investigators believe that, at the very least, these activities constitute a war crime.


The situation in East Jerusalem has captured the attention of the global community, with three UN autonomous experts releasing a combined statement on the matter. Paula Gaviria Betancur, Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced people; Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing; and Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, have voiced their concerns regarding the coerced eviction of Palestinians and the prejudiced legislation that has resulted in their displacement.

The Tragedy of Forced Displacement

The forcible eviction of Palestinians from their residences in East Jerusalem is an ongoing catastrophe. Families are being displaced from the homes they have occupied for generations, frequently without warning or compensation. These forced displacements have serious consequences for the affected individuals, resulting in the confiscation of property and belongings as well as the disruption of their lives. The experts emphasise that such actions violate the Palestinians’ rights and contribute to their persistent distress.

Intentional Pursuit of Colonisation

The relocation of Israel’s populace into the occupied territory is seen as substantiation of a deliberate intent to colonise the land. International humanitarian law rigorously forbids the colonisation of occupied territories, and the experts argue that Israel’s actions are in manifest violation of these laws. The purposeful expansion of settlements is not only a violation of the Palestines rights but also a substantial impediment to attaining a peaceful resolution in the region.

The Status of the City

The biassed laws that were passed to increase Jewish ownership in Jerusalem are fundamentally changing the demographics and character of the city, the experts warn. Under Israeli rule, Palestinians are routinely ostracised, evicted from their homes, and robbed of their valuables. This procedure has repercussions for the city’s demographic and cultural makeup as well as for the individuals involved.

Discriminatory Laws and Coercive Relocations

Approximately 150 Palestinian households in Jerusalem’s Old City neighbourhood are currently grappling with the threat of forced eviction and relocation imposed by Israeli settlers and authorities. In the ongoing discourse surrounding the contentious issue of Palestinian properties, experts have shed light on a particular statute that has emerged as a significant factor contributing to the transfer of pre-1948 Jewish property to what is referred to as the “original Jewish owners” or their “heirs.” This statute has been identified as playing a role in the alleged usurpation of Palestinian properties. In a distressing trend, Israeli settlers have reportedly taken control of numerous Palestinian properties in the occupied East Jerusalem region, resulting in the displacement of Palestinian families and leaving them without any means of seeking justice.

The Role of “Lawfare”

The experts assert that the prevailing legislation manipulates the law to assist settler organisations in appropriating Palestinian assets. They describe this stratagem as “lawfare in action,” highlighting its prejudiced and acquisitive nature. They emphasise that there is no commensurate right to restitution for the over 1 million Palestinians and their descendants who were displaced and dispossessed in 1947 and 1967. The law disproportionately favours Israeli settlers while neglecting the rights of the Palestinian population.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the significance of the joint statement by the UN independent experts?

The joint statement by the UN independent experts holds significant importance as it brings attention to the ongoing turmoil in East Jerusalem. It underscores the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the prejudiced legislation that has led to their displacement. The statement underscores that these actions violate international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes. By issuing a united statement, the experts amplify their concerns and call for immediate action to address the situation.

Q: What impact do forced expulsions have on Palestinians in East Jerusalem?

Forced expulsions have a profound impact on Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Families are uprooted from their homes, often with minimal or no advance notice, causing them to lose their property, possessions, and sense of stability. The forced displacements disrupt their lives and contribute to their enduring suffering. Palestinians face immense challenges in finding alternative housing and rebuilding their lives, leading to increased vulnerability and hardship.

Q: How does the deliberate pursuit of colonisation contribute to the situation?

One key contributor to the ongoing conflict is the deliberate colonisation of occupied East Jerusalem. Israel’s population transfer into the occupied territory is illegal under international humanitarian law, which forbids the colonisation of occupied territories. Israel’s policies not only violate the rights of Palestinians but also lessen the chances of finding a peaceful solution in the region by willfully building settlements and boosting Jewish ownership. The colonisation operations widen the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian people through maintaining inequality, prejudice, and displacement.

Q: What impact does discriminatory legislation have on the population and character of Jerusalem?

Discriminatory legislation has a significant impact on the people and character of Jerusalem. Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians are often ostracised and subject to regulations that restrict their rights and access to housing. The demographics of Jerusalem have been substantially changed by the seizure of Palestinian properties through forced evictions and settlement growth. The chances for a varied and welcoming Jerusalem are undermined by this practise, which not only uproots people but also damages the city’s cultural and historical heritage.

Q: How does “lawfare” play a role in the situation?

The term “lawfare” describes the use of the law to further particular goals. It entails passing laws that support settler organisations’ seizure of Palestinian assets while ignoring the rights of the Palestinian populace in the context of East Jerusalem. The experts draw attention to the fact that the current legal framework unfairly favours Israeli settlements while offering no comparable right to restitution for historically displaced and oppressed Palestinians. The practise of “lawfare” upholds a system that further marginalises Palestinians and denies them justice and equality before the law.


The UN independent experts’ joint statement draws attention to the ongoing crisis in East Jerusalem and the serious human rights violations taking place there. It highlights the forceful evictions of Palestinians, the intentional colonisation of the occupied area, the discriminatory laws, and how “lawfare” contributes to the growing marginalisation of the Palestinian people. In order to address these problems and guarantee the protection of human rights in East Jerusalem, the experts call for prompt action.

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