Practice Relating to Rule 130. Transfer of Own Civilian Population into Occupied Territory
Jordan’s Military Penal Code (2002) states that the following shall be deemed a war crime when committed in the event of armed conflict: “The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004, Jordan stated:
5.120 The wall being constructed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories including in and around east Jerusalem divides the West bank into six sections not linked except by or through Israeli checkpoints and controls. As indicated … it has the clear effect, and also the intention, of consolidating and protecting the civilian Jewish settlements constructed on the West Bank and in the East Jerusalem area with the active assistance of the Government of Israel …
5.121 Those settlements involve an unlawful alteration of the population balance in the West bank. Consequently, the construction of the wall in such a way as to support that unlawful alteration of the population balance is itself unlawful.
5.122 The population balance of an occupied territory may be affected by the operation of two processes, either separately or taken together. On the one hand, the indigenous inhabitants may be removed from or compelled to leave the territory; on the other hand, persons from outside the territory, and particularly from the Occupying Power’s own country, may be transferred into the occupied territory. In respect of the occupied Palestinian territories including in and around East Jerusalem, both processes have been at work; both are contrary to applicable international rules.
5.132 To take first the prohibition against the Occupying Power transferring its own civilian population into the occupied territory, there is no doubt that Israel, the Occupying Power, has engaged in practices which involve the “transfer [of] parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. The movement of settlers into the occupied territories has been a publicly proclaimed policy of the Government of Israel since the occupation began, and has taken place with the active support and encouragement of that Government.
5.202 The policy and practice of displacement resulting from the construction of the wall, considered in its historical context and in the light of consistent patterns of expropriation, destruction of agricultural land, orchards and olive groves, designate [sic] of Palestinian land as “state land”, refusal of return of refugees, promotion of and assistance to non-indigenous settlers, allow an inference of permanent forcible transfers attributable to Israel. Such transfers are contrary to any exception permitted under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
5.203 Moreover, deportation and transfer incur individual criminal responsibility in international law.