International Law and Human Rights Law Perspective

The Israeli authority’s systematic refusal to issue building permits for Palestinians, denial of official recognition of villages and continued demolitions constitute a violation of human rights, including rights to land, resources, property, dignity and equality. Every Palestinian has the right to adequate housing in accordance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 11 ICESCR, 1976), which was ratified by Israel in 1991. However, this basic human right is continually being denied by the Israeli authorities. Whilst Palestinians in the Naqab have Israeli citizenship and are thus entitled to equal treatment as Israelis under Israeli domestic law, Palestinians in Area C live under Israeli military rule. Destruction of Palestinians’ property by the ‘Occupying Power’ is prohibited by Art. 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) unless “[…] absolutely necessary by military operations”. This prohibition is routinely ignored. In the Naqab and Area C, Israeli authorities are using strategies to forcibly transfer the Bedouin communities, which are both direct, such as the enforcement of discriminatory legislation, and indirect, such as the constant threat of demolitions. The aim of these practices is to disposses and expropriate Palestinian land. Israel’s refusal to officially recognise Palestinian villages in Area C as well as inside Israel, is reflected in Google Maps’ representation of the area. The failure of Google Maps to depict Palestinian villages on its maps suggests that their practices are politically influenced and biased in favour of Israel’s systematic violation of the human rights of Palestinians.