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Is the UN about to subsidize an Israeli war crime?
The Palestinian Authority is trying to prevent United Nations agencies from effectively subsidizing Israel’s forcible transfer of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
The Electronic Intifada has learned that UN officials are due to meet in coming days to allocate “emergency” funds to pay an Israeli lawyer who has been representing Bedouin communities in their years-long struggle against efforts to forcibly remove them from their land in the occupied West Bank.
The lawyer had previously been paid by the Norwegian Refugee Council. But in a confidential memo seen by The Electronic Intifada, the Norwegian Refugee Council says it ended the funding after it learned that the lawyer was negotiating the communities’ forcible transfer, a violation of international law, with Israeli occupation authorities.
The meeting of UN officials to approve the replacement funds was postponed last week after the Palestinian Authority issued a directive to international agencies and diplomats warning that “the facilitation of forcible transfer constitutes a war crime.”
A copy of the PA directive obtained by The Electronic Intifada is below.
Signed by Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the directive states that “any organization, individual or otherwise actor found to facilitate and/or fund the forcible transfer of any Palestinian community without the informed consent of the community and the consent of the State of Palestine will be found in violation of Palestinian and international law.”
Erekat specifically warns that “International and local nongovernmental organizations, including United Nations bodies, that support these initiatives are in violation of their own mandates to provide protection to protected persons.”
Any individual or organization that funds, facilitates or takes part in negotiations that ultimately result in the transfer of Palestinian communities “will be held accountable as assisting in the commission of a war crime,” the directive states.