Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) offers its profound thanks and support to the 81 U.K. lawmakers who, in a letter sent to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this week, have decried the “recent acceleration in attempts by Israeli settler organisations to take control of hundreds of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem”, or Al-Quds.
The cross-party letter, signed by members of both houses of parliament, argues that “measures should be considered including reducing diplomatic engagement and banning trade in settlement products” against the Israeli state’s ongoing “transfer” of Palestinians from their homes.
“As you are well aware”, the letter continued, “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 letter was written by Julie Elliott MP and Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who together co-chair the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group.
The same group recently invited “Palestinian writer Mohammed El-Kurd and Israeli settlement expert” to speak with them, the letter explained.
“El-Kurd, whose family was dispossessed in 1948, and were robbed of part of their home in 2009, spoke movingly about living in constant fear that settler organisations backed by the Israeli government will take over their family home. In the coming weeks this fear is very likely to turn to reality”, said the letter.
An Israeli appeal court will hear the case of several dispossessed families, including El-Kurd’s, this week.
The court’s “verdict could have catastrophic consequences on the lives of many but at its essence this is not a legal issue, but a political one”, the letter continued.
“Israeli settlers as well as government and municipality officials speak openly about wishing to control the demographics of the city. Any actions by the occupying power to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition are illegal under international law”, it added.
“The UK government should make clear to its Israeli counterpart that relations cannot continue as normal in the event of such transgressions.”