Farmers facing confiscation, eviction & destruction of agricultural property

PNN/ Ramallah/

The agriculture committees of the Union of Agriculture Work Committees (UAWC) monitored dozens of violations committed by the occupation forces and settlers against the Palestinian agricultural sector during December of 2020.

Although international law states that intentional lethal force is only justified when there is a direct threat to life or serious injury, Israeli forces use lethal force against Palestinian minors in unwarranted circumstances, which may amount to extrajudicial killings.

In December, the occupation forces killed Ali Abu Alya a 14 years old child from of Mughayir village in Ramallah district, while he was participating in a peaceful demonstration opposition Israeli land confiscation of the village’s lands. In December 2020, dozens of injuries and suffocation cases resulted from the occupation forces ’suppression of peaceful demonstrations against the confiscation of land in different governorates.

Israeli occupation forces bulldozed about 80 dunums -most of which were planted with trees that ages reached to 20 years old- uprooted more than 1,000 trees, including 200 grape trees and 8000 olive trees. In addition to executing 6 operations to confiscate agricultural machineries such as tractors, small farm tools, barracks they have also placed 6 stop work orders for farmers working on their land. Add to that placing other stop work orders against drilling cisterns and rehabilitating wells and against building greenhouses. In the Gaza Strip, the occupation forces and its gunboats committed about 20 violations against Gaza’s fishermen and farmers ranged between chasing Palestinian fishermen , threatening and shooting attacks.

The attacks of the occupation forces and settlers during the month of December in the Palestinian territories led to dozens of shooting cases on farmers, fishermen and agricultural lands in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In addition to the confiscation and eviction of farmers from their lands: this included uprooting and destroying trees and agricultural properties. In this report, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and its agricultural committees monitored the attacks during December 2020.

The legal, humanitarian, and human rights aspects of this report are constructed on international declarations, conventions, and covenants of human rights, in specific; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) Related to the Protection of Civilian Person in the Time of War, the Third, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Fourth, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the fifth, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) and related articles of the Palestinian Basic Law.1

Similar cases of Israeli violations are recurring in Palestinian cities, villages, towns and camp, in  explicit violation to human rights principles in general and peasants’ rights in particular. All the following violations in this section are in a clear violation to the Right to Life – which is an integral part of most human rights and international law conventions and declarations. The first paragraph of article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life” (p4,1966). Threatening Palestinian peasants and civilians right to life is violating article 6 of the UNDROP, which states” Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person” (p7, 2018).

Palestinian peasants are suffering from violations to their right to Peaceful assembly and bodily integrity; they can’t practice their right of peaceful activities to protect their rights to sovereignty over land and natural resources. On the other hand, Israeli occupying forces are violating article 21 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which emphasizes the rights of freedom of movement and residence; which also means that the Israeli occupying forces are violating article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that the occupying power must adhere to the partial legislation of the land it occupies. Furthermore, attacking peaceful activities of farmers is violating Article 21 of the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, as the article states that “The right to peaceful assembly is recognized. It is not permissible to place any restrictions upon exercising this right except those that are broken in accordance with the law.

Furthermore, all the following violations are violating article 8 of the UNDROP emphasizes peasant’s right to peaceful assembly by saying: “Peasants and other people working in rural areas have the right, individually and/or collectively, in association with others or as a community, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (p7, 2018).The Israeli occupation continues its brutal attacks on peasants and their children, this month the occupation forces killed an 11 years old Palestinian child who was participating in a peaceful assembly against land confiscation.

A: Peaceful assembly and bodily integrity rights :
1 Basic legal articles in relation to peasants’ and frames’ rights:
1- The international definition of the “Peasants” as defined in article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), states the following, “ a peasant is any person who engages or who seeks to engage alone, or in association with others or as a community, in small-scale agricultural production for subsistence and/or for the market, and who relies significantly, though not necessarily exclusively, on family or household labour and other non-monetized ways of organizing labour, and who has a special dependency on and attachment to the land” (p 4, 2018).

2- The protected persons according to paragraph one of article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states” Persons protected by the Convention are those who at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of persons a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals”(p 8, 1994).
It’s important to clarify that all of the violation cases in this report are representing violations of article 3 of the UDHR, which
states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person” (p2, 1948).
3- The Palestinian Basic Law: