Israel: UN experts condemn forced eviction of east Jerusalem families
12 July 2023
GENEVA (12 July 2023) – The forced eviction and displacement of the Ghaith-Sub Laban family and many other Palestinian families in east Jerusalem may amount to a war crime of forcible transfer and must be immediately reversed, UN experts* said today.
“It is deeply shocking and heartbreaking to see Nora Ghaith and Mustafa Sub Laban, an older Palestinian couple, evicted from their family home where they have lived all their lives and raised their children,” the UN experts said.
Israeli police forcibly evicted Nora Ghaith and Mustafa Sub Laban from their home in the Old City of Jerusalem in the early hours of 11 July. The Ghaith-Sub Laban family, who had a protected lease on the house since 1953, reportedly faced constant harassment and lawsuits from Israeli authorities and settlers seeking to seize their home under an inherently discriminatory law that applies to Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
“As we have repeatedly said, forced evictions of Palestinians in east Jerusalem are part of Israel’s apartheid machinery at work, designed to consolidate Jewish ownership of Jerusalem and racially dominate the city’s population,” the experts said.
They stressed that the case of the Ghaith Sub-Laban family is not unique but is representative of a widespread and systematic practice by Israel to forcibly evict and displace Palestinians from east Jerusalem and “de-palestinize” the city. Across east Jerusalem, there are reportedly around 150 Palestinian families at risk of forced eviction and displacement by Israeli authorities and settler organisations.
“Israel’s transfer of its own population into the occupied territory is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime,” the experts said. “Nothing speaks more blatantly of its intention to annex and colonise the occupied territory in violation of international law.”
“Israel must immediately cease these deliberate acts, which not only deliberately violate Palestinians’ rights to self-determination, non-discrimination, development, adequate housing and property, but also traumatise the affected family and the entire Palestinian community living defenceless under Israeli rule, and violate the fundamental norms and principles of international law,” they said. “It is the duty of other States to put an end to the unrelenting assaults on the system of international law.”
The experts have repeatedly raised these issues with the Government of Israel without any response to date.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.