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LAW Demands Israel Releases Palestinian Prisoners

"LAW" Warns of Expelling 18 Palestinians, Demands International Pressure to Release Prisoners

ELBIREH, Palestine -- A Palestinian Human Rights organization warned Sunday of an Israeli decision to expel to Gaza Strip a total of 18 Palestinian prisoners, and demanded the world to exert pressure on the Israeli government to release the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights & the Environment (LAW) said in a press release that the Israeli supreme court has rejected an appeal to invalidate the expulsion verdict of those prisoners, which is considered as a blatant violation of all international treaties and conventions.

The Jerusalem-based society added that the expulsion comes amidst a volatile stage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provoking the Palestinian people's feelings and derogating their rights, especially it's coming from the highest legal body in Israel; the supreme court.

"Validating this verdict means a grave breach of human rights, and is considered an illegal procedure in the Palestinian territories, as it violates article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that '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, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive' as well as article 147 of the same convention, which states that expulsion or forced deportation is considered a grave breach and a war crime," excerpts from the press release read.

As well, LAW demanded the international community and human rights organizations to support demands to release Palestinian prisoners, especially the ailed ones. The society demanded also that these organizations visit those prisoners in their jails and detention camps and ascertain their detention conditions.

During a visit of the society's lawyer, Mohammed Al Shadfan, to the "Benjamin" detention camp, near the town of Betunya, to which 56 Palestinian prisoners have been transferred, 29 of whom were from the notorious "Etsion" prison, the lawyer observed the detention conditions of those prisoners, who all live in a very tight cell, as this detention camp used to be a military barracks.

The society also knew that the Israeli occupying forces have turned several sections of their military camps into jails, and divided these sections with tents that accommodate only 16 persons, but they crammed 45 prisoners in each tent, which further deteriorated the conditions of those prisoners.

The society demanded that an international pressure be exerted on the Israeli government to release all Palestinian prisoners, especially the ill ones, in accordance with articles 29 and 30 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that "the Party to the conflict in whose hands protected persons may be, is responsible for the treatment accorded to them by its agents, irrespective of any individual responsibility which may be incurred," and "protected persons shall have every facility for making application to the Protecting Powers."

According to the latest figures from LAW society, since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada, 57 Palestinians have been forcibly deported from the West Bank, either to the Gaza Strip or to other countries around the world.

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