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Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Palestinian human rights NGO: war crime to rebuild synagogue destroyed by Jordan in Jerusalem

PCHR
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release

Ref: 17/2010
Date: 16 March 2010
Time: 10:00 GMT

PCHR Strongly Condemns Inauguration of Synagogue in Occupied East Jerusalem

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns recent
measures taken by Israel in East Jerusalem, the latest of which has been the
inauguration of a synagogue in the old city. PCHR holds Israel responsible
for the escalation of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
(OPT). PCHR also confirms that East Jerusalem constitutes an integral part
of the OPT, in which international humanitarian law and international human
rights law is applicable. PCHR calls upon the international community,
particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention,
to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, and to ensure Israel's respect
for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT in accordance with article 1 of
the Convention. PCHR believes that if the international community does not
make clear its position towards Israel's acting as a State above the law,
Israel will be encouraged to continue violating international human rights
and humanitarian law.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Israeli occupation forces
(IOF) have imposed a tightened closure on the old city in East Jerusalem for
the sixth consecutive day. On Thursday, 11 March 2010, IOF started imposing
increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the old city.
According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of Border Police officers established
military checkpoints at the entrances of the old city, on all of the streets
inside the walls of the old city, as well as on streets in the immediate
vicinity. They prevented all those who were not residents of the old city
from entering it. In addition, Palestinians under 50 years of age were not
permitted to enter al-Aqsa Mosque, all gates to the al-Aqsa compound, with
the exception of al-Majles, Hattah and al-Selselah gates, were closed. On
Saturday, 13 March 2010, IOF closed al-Aqsa Secondary School for Girls, the
Shari'a Secondary School and the Islamic Kindergarten of al-Aqsa, all of
which are located inside al-Aqsa compound. These measures, which are still
ongoing, came on the eve of the inauguration of a synagogue in al-Shorfah
neighborhood. The synagogue is located 300 meters to the west of al-Aqsa
Mosque and was inaugurated yesterday, on Monday, 15 March 2010.

PCHR strongly condemns all forms of settlement activities in East Jerusalem,
including the inauguration of a synagogue, and:

1. Confirms that East Jerusalem, which has been occupied since 05 June
1967, constitutes an integral part of the OPT;
2. The inauguration of a Jewish synagogue in East Jerusalem is
considered a form of settlement activity, and thus constitutes a war crime
under international humanitarian law.

3. Measures taken by Israel following the occupation of the city,
particularly the Israeli Knesset's decision on 28 June 1967 to annex the
occupied city to the Israeli territories, the Knesset's decision on 30 July
1980 stating that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel"
and the decision to expand Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, constitute
grave violations of international law and United Nations Resolutions.
4. All decisions taken and plans implemented by Israel in the occupied
city do not change its legal status.
5. The recent IOF measures in Jerusalem serve to escalate the
situation in the OPT.

In light of the above, PCHR calls upon:

1. The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention,
individually or collectively, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations,
and ensure that Israel's respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention in the
OPT, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that the
conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community encourages
Israel to act as a State above the law and to commit more violations of
international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including
efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
2. The international community to immediately intervene to compel the
government of Israel to stop all settlement activities in the OPT,
especially in occupied East Jerusalem.
3. The European Union (EU) and/or its individual member states to
activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israeli Association Agreement, which
stipulates that Israel's respect for human rights is a condition for
economic cooperation, and to demand Israel's respect for human rights. PCHR
also calls upon the EU member states also to stop all forms of trade with
Israeli goods, particularly those produced in Israeli settlements inside the
OPT.

Public Document
**************************************
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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