Alan Baker, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is former legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and former ambassador to Canada. He recently wrote an excellent article on The Settlements Issue: Distorting the Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords which is a must read. But for me it opened up a can of worms.
The international community considers the settlements illegal because of the sixth paragraph of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states:
“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
But, what does this mean?
The International Committee of the Red Cross, in 1958, clarified this provision as follows:
“It is intended to prevent a practice adopted during the Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own population to occupied territory for political and racial reasons or in order, as they claimed, to colonize those territories.”
Baker interprets it thus: “In other words, according to the ICRC commentary, Article 49 relates to deportations, meaning the forcible transfer of an occupying power’s population into an occupied territory.”
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242, Palestinian State