Letter to the Minister for the Middle East about forced evictions in East Jerusalem

The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP 

Minister of State (Minister for the Middle East and North Africa)

5 April 2021


Dear James,

I am writing further to the rapidly deteriorating situation in East Jerusalem and the number of Palestinian families at imminent risk of forced eviction from their homes. As you are well aware, the forcible transfer of an occupied population is a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as is the transfer of an occupier’s population into occupied territory, which includes East Jerusalem. The wider context here is Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and internationally condemned practices that include the forcible transfer of Palestinian families and settlement expansion throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. 

The Israeli District Court recently ordered four more families to leave their homes or face eviction by 2 May. I am therefore calling on the UK Government to: 

1. Recognise and declare that the laws and policies Israel have created, and continue to maintain, as an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole, which amounts to the crime of apartheid; 

2. Call on Israel to cease the unlawful application of its domestic laws and policies to illegally annexed East Jerusalem; 

3. Call on Israel to immediately cease the court proceedings against the Palestinian families who are under imminent threat of forced eviction, as well as the eviction orders placing the Jerusalemite people at risk of forced displacement, and to ensure the return of Palestinians evicted to their properties as restitution or compensating them for their loss where this is not possible; 

4. Call on Israel to immediately repeal all laws it has enacted to further the Israeli policy of population transfer and achieve demographic goals in Jerusalem in violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights, including their right to self-determination and right to return and reclaim their properties, including 1950 Absentees’ Property Law and the 1970 Legal and Administrative Matters Law; 

5. Call on Israel to abide by the legal test set by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights if the eviction is exceptionally required; 

6. Call on the international community to cooperate to bring to an end, including through coercive measures such as sanctions, Israel’s occupation, colonisation, and apartheid regime, as well as the prolonged denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, lands, and property, as mandated by international law; 

7. Call on the international community to ensure international justice and accountability, including by supporting a full, thorough, and comprehensive investigation into the Situation in Palestine by the International Criminal Court;

8. Call on the UN to ensure the fulfilment of various UN resolutions in relation to the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and to restitution and compensation of their properties, as well as resolutions directed at altering the composition and character of Jerusalem;

9. Ensure that regular visits are made by the British Consulate to Palestinian families and communities under threat of mass/forcible eviction and dispossession, in East Jerusalem and across the rest of the West Bank, demonstrating full solidarity and all assistance to them within its power.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

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