On 21 August 2023, Israel commenced the construction of the new military checkpoint in Al-Walaja Village, following through with its plans to annex additional Palestinian lands in accordance with its “Greater Jerusalem” plans. BADIL was informed about the relocation of the checkpoint by Palestinians in Al-Walaja. This relocation will result in the confiscation of additional land and its de facto annexation to Jerusalem Municipality.
On 12 November 2017, Israeli forces issued a notice declaring the move of the Israeli military checkpoint - one that has already been illegally constructed on Al-Walaja Village lands of the West Bank for about two decades, to a new, closer location in the village. On 28 May 2020, Israel issued 14 demolition orders to the village, including for the agricultural road BADIL established in cooperation with the Al-Walaja Village Council to provide 40 families and farmers with enhanced access to their lands.
According to Khader Al-Araj, head of Al-Walaja village council: “The movement of the checkpoint will result in the denial of access to approximately 2000 dunums of land belonging to the residents of the village and to Ein Al Haniya, a natural spring in Al-Walaja.” Despite the “public security” pretexts stated in the relocation notice, facts on the ground show that the annexation of this land will be utilized for a national park benefiting the Israeli colonizers, which Mr. Al-Araj also emphasized: “The ultimate goal is to annex this land and the spring to Israel.”
This relocation constitutes an additional step towards the annexation of the West Bank by Israel: establishing this new fact on the ground and placing all the lands located behind this checkpoint under full Israeli control. The acquisition of territory by force, known as annexation, whether in fact or in law, is a violation of a peremptory norm of international law and absolutely prohibited.
Such seizure of property and exploitation of resources for the benefit of the colonizing power and its colonizers, could amount to the crime of pillage under Article (28) of 1907 Hague regulations, a violation of Article (46) of the same regulations and a grave breach of Article (147) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, thus amounting to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the crime of apartheid.
Therefore, BADIL calls on:
- International civil society to implement actions that challenge Israeli annexation, colonization and apartheid practices. This includes boycott and divestment from Israeli and national corporations that are complicit in human rights violations and crimes.