Deportation

Published: 
1 Jan 2011

From the beginning of the Israeli occupation, in 1967, to 1992, when Israel ceased deportations, 1,522 Palestinians were deported from the Occupied Territories. None of the deportees had been charged with a criminal offense, nor tried and convicted. By law, they must therefore be considered innocent of any offense.

Ostensibly, the reason for issuing a deportation order is to prevent a danger caused by the deportee. In practice, however, deportation more than once served as an alternative to punishment by law, and was exercised in large part due to political considerations, rather than for security reasons related to the individual being deported. Israel deported Palestinians in total disregard of proper administration and due process.

Although Israel has not deported any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories since 1992, the regulation pursuant to which the earlier deportations were carried out remains on the statute books, so Israel can carry out deportations whenever it likes.

In addition, since 2002, Israel has used a new "deterrent" device against the families of persons suspected of violence against Israel: deportation from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. As in the case of deportation to a place outside the Occupied Territories, forcing Palestinians to leave the West Bank and go to the Gaza Strip is an administrative, rather than court-imposed, punishment. To date, Israel has deported thirty-two Palestinians in this way.

Deportation of residents in occupied territory from their homes, whether to another place in the occupied territory or to a place outside the territory, is prohibited by international humanitarian law. There is, however, one narrow exception. International humanitarian law provides that an occupying state may evacuate residents from their homes for "imperative military reasons", or for the security of the local population. In such cases, the evacuation must be temporary, and during that time, the occupying power must ensure the basic needs of the evacuees. Israel's deportation policy before 1992, and even in its present form, fails to meet either of these exceptions and therefore flagrantly breaches international humanitarian law.