International law stipulates that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal and constitutes a direct violation of Israel’s obligations as a belligerent occupier.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (II) which stated, “the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United Nations.”
Under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 252 (1968), “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status,” and it “urgently” called “upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem.”
In UNSC Resolution 298 (1971), the Security Council confirmed “in the clearest possible terms that all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change the status of the City of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties, transfer of populations and legislation aimed at the incorporation of the occupied section, are totally invalid and cannot change that status.”
In response to Israel’s adoption of its Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel in 1980 which declares “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel,” the UNSC implemented Resolution 476 which states that “measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Under Article IV of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (September 13, 1993), “the two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit,” and according to Article XXXI (7) of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (September 28, 1995), “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
In a letter sent by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to Norwegian Foreign Minister Holst on October 11, 1993, Peres wrote, “the Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem and the interest and well-being of the Palestinians of East Jerusalem are of great importance and will be preserved. Therefore, all the Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem, including the economic, social, educational and cultural, and the holy Christian and Moslem places, are performing an essential task for the Palestinian population.”
According to Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory” is a war crime.
It should be stressed that the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and no embassies are located in Jerusalem.
This month’s incitement report highlights proclamations by Israeli government officials on Jerusalem and their refusal to rescind control of Occupied East Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of the future Palestinian state.
Below are a few recent statements of willful provocation on the status of Jerusalem that display a blatant disregard of international law and a violation of Palestinian rights:
President Reuven Rivlin: “Jerusalem has always been the center of the Jewish world. The place, we have prayed towards for thousands of years. There was never any doubt, that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel.” (May 2, 2017)
“It is time to put an end to the absurd. It is time to recognize Jerusalem, as the official capital of the State of Israel. De facto, not just de jure. It is time to move all the official embassies here, to Jerusalem.” (May 2, 2017)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Fifty years ago, we didn’t occupy, we liberated; by the heroism of our warriors and the love of our people, Jerusalem was liberated. I say to the world with a clear voice: Jerusalem was and always will be the capital of Israel. The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.” (May 21, 2017)
“Israel has clearly stated its position to the US and to the world multiple times. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem won’t harm the peace process. The opposite is true. It will correct a historic injustice by advancing the [peace process] and shattering a Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem isn’t Israel’s capital.” (May 14, 2017)
Education Minister and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett: “The time has come for East Jerusalem to also study the Israeli curriculum from first grade. Jerusalem needs to be united in deeds, not in words.” (May 28, 2017)
“All of Jerusalem that will remain united under Israeli sovereignty and only under the sovereignty of Israel forever.” (May 25, 2017)
“And the truth is that we will not divide Jerusalem. The Arabs don’t want Israel. It’s not about a Palestinian state. It’s about our very existence. We’re going to have to learn to live together, but we’re not going to found another Palestinian state beyond the one in Gaza.” (May 7, 2017)
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz: “The appropriate answer to UNESCO’s decision and to anyone else who doubts our right to sovereignty is to pass the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’ that includes extending Israeli sovereignty to the surrounding communities of Greater Jerusalem: Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Beitar Illit, and the Etzion Bloc.” (May 2, 2017)
“Passing this [“Greater Jerusalem Law”] in full 50 years after the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem will send a clear message: Jerusalem is one and united under Israeli sovereignty.” (May 2, 2017)
Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant: “We must establish our hold on Jerusalem, from Ma’aleh Adumim in the east to Giv’at Ze’ev in the west, from Atarot in the north to the Bethlehem area and Rachel’s Tomb, to the outskirts of Efrat and Gush Etzion. It has historical, strategic, and moral importance.” (May 8, 2017)
“It is important to explain to the world the rightness of our way, especially these days when there are Holocaust deniers and those who deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and everything in it. Both Christians and Muslims know in their hearts that this historic place is the cradle of Judaism and monotheism. Our strength is rooted in the justice of our way, we must instill this insight into anyone who tries to undermine this reminder.” (May 8, 2017)
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely: “Recognition of Israeli [sovereignty over] Jerusalem is essential, first of all, for the cause of Jewish justice. Jerusalem was always the capital of the Jewish people, and only under Israeli sovereignty is there freedom of worship for all religions.” (May 14, 2017)
“Mayor” of Jerusalem Nir Barkat: “The connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem dates back more than 3,000 years. Jerusalem is, and will remain, our eternal, united capital forever. In every corner of the city, we see Jewish roots — from the time of the First and Second Temples, to the Muslim period, and the Ottoman conquest.” (May 9, 2017)