Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: IHL vulnerabilities, ICC possibilities

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Law

Abstract

This project seeks to better understand the humanitarian impact of continued forcible transfer of the Bedouin communities living in E1, Jerusalem, and how impunity for violations of international law contributes to the deterioration of humanitarian vulnerabilities. Through qualitative enquiry, combining desk based research and first hand semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, the project will gather together a significant body of evidence to highlight to ongoing deleterious impact of repeated violations of IHL (and impunity for violations) on those living at the sharp edge of the situation in Israel-Palestine, namely the Bedouin communities of E1.

In their 2017 report, Humanitarian Facts and Figures: Occupied Palestinian Territory, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted that forced displacement is listed as one of the four key drivers of humanitarian vulnerability. The report highlighted that, "between 2009 and 2016, Israeli authorities demolished or seized over 4,800 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, mostly in Area C and East Jerusalem". It further indicated that "46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, home to some 8,000 Palestinians, the majority registered Palestine refugees, have been targeted by the Israeli authorities for "relocation" to a number of designated sites". The expansion of Israeli settlements, considered illegal and condemned as a "flagrant violation under international law" by UN Security Council resolution 2334 of 2016, has been a driver for confiscation of Palestinian private and public land, demolition of homes (including Bedouin shacks) and repeated displacement of Palestinian civilians. The confiscation and demolition of property in Bedouin villages, and the ensuing forcible transfer/relocation of these vulnerable communities, is recognised as a violation of IHL and human rights by the UN, EU and other international actors. Forced displacement of civilians in an occupied territory is also considered a crime under International Criminal Law.

The planned expansion of the 'Ma'ale Adumim' settlement block east of Jerusalem is exacerbating the humanitarian vulnerabilities of the Bedouin and herder communities in the E1 area. Bedouin communities such as those residing in Abu Al-Nuwwar, Wadi Abu Hindi, Al Khan Al-Ahmar, Jabal Al-Baba and Sath Al Bahar are at the front line of defence for resisting Israeli settlement expansion, thus ensuring Palestinian access to Jerusalem. This scenario does not just affect individual Bedouin villages at risk of demolition and transfer, but carries grave implications for the broader Israeli-Palestinian situation. Thus, Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forcible transfer have, unintentionally, become key players in the regional context, whilst simultaneously facing unique humanitarian vulnerabilities that must be better understood.

A number of Israeli policies and practices in those areas, including a restrictive permit and planning regime, demolitions and threats of demolitions of property and the active promotion of relocation plans all contribute to the coercive environment, "which generates pressure on Palestinians to leave their communities". In the Israeli-Palestinian context, impunity for violations of international law, including IHL, has been recognised as a "driver of conflict". In espousing the benefits of holding violators of IHL to account, it has been noted that, "effective accountability not only ensures that perpetrators are brought to justice, but also ensures that victims have access to remedies and serves to deter future violations and to try to repair the harm suffered." As such, it is vital to understand the impact of violations of IHL on the Bedouin and herder communities in Palestine, and engage with the ICC's work. This project will work fill this gap, and produce an edited book and policy report.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit for the research?

There are three key beneficiaries of this research
(a) local groups and individuals facing humanitarian protection risks, namely Bedouin communities, including women and teenagers identified as specific vulnerable groups therein, whose improved capacity to understand, collect evidence of, and communicate issues and experiences illustrating IHL violations will enable greater participation in international accountability efforts, including at the ICC;
(b) in-country researchers and practitioners, in addition to the project partners, whose greater coordination and access to updated analysis will improve the efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness of engagement with international accountability efforts, including at the ICC; and
(c) the international community, including the State of Palestine, acting responsibly in line with the peace and security aims of the UN Charter, including accountability and guarantees of non-recurrence for violations of international humanitarian law through appropriate international legal fora (such as the ICC and UN, as well as the EU and other key players). All of this will maximize humanitarian protection of the Bedouin at risk of forced displacement by responding to past abuse by ensuring accountability for violations before an independent and impartial tribunal, building an environment founded on international law and conducive to full respect of all human rights, and offering some remedy to affected communities by acknowledging harm, seeking justice and empowering local groups to tell their story and be heard.

How will they benefit?

Each group will benefit from the planned activities by way of capacity building. And in particular, the Bedouin community will be in a stronger position to engage with the ICC preliminary examination activities.

In line with the overall purpose and aims of the AHRC-DFID humanitarian protection research grant, and as detailed in pathways to impact, this project offers potential impact in policymaking, practitioner and development contexts by addressing the IHL violations affecting Palestinian Bedouin at risk from the ground up, involving and building capacity of the communities affected, working with local researchers and practitioners and engaging with the preliminary examination activities at the ICC, UN and EU. Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forcible transfer have, unintentionally, become key players in the regional context, whilst simultaneously facing unique humanitarian vulnerabilities that must be better understood to enable and unlock the development potential of Palestine.

The impact, in line with the primary aim of this project, seeks to mitigate in the long term the significant and specific humanitarian challenges faced by the Palestinian Bedouin at risk of displacement in E1, with a view to reducing harm through an increased respect for international law. The specific humanitarian challenges underpin these communities' possibilities for development as well, as illustrated by a range of UN reports and other sources (see Case for Support). As such, this research project on the E1 Bedouin speaks directly to the international community's commitment to development in Palestine, and commitment to peace and justice in the region.
 
Description UN HRC activities with IADL
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to new or Improved professional practice
Impact Greater knowledge of the complex humanitarian situation of the Bedouin communities in E1 by the HRC members and diplomatic community.
 
Description Palestinian Bedouin at risk of forced displacement: Creative communication
Amount £140,147 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/W006782/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2021 
End 01/2023
 
Description Article on the project in Independent - Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Article published on 'Trinity College joins international investigation on 'forcible transfer' of Palestinian Bedouin community in Israel-Palestine' based on interview with Dr Brendan Ciaran Browne (project co-I, Trinity College Dublin)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.independent.ie/regionals/dublin/dublin-news/trinity-college-joins-international-investig...
 
Description Economic Empowerment for Women in Jabal Al Baba (Training on Marketing on Social Media Platforms) (Jabal al Baba) (Spring 2022) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Economic Empowerment for Women in Jabal Al Baba (Training on Marketing on Social Media Platforms)
Target group: 15 Bedouin women
Age group: 20-40
Location: Jabal Al Baba (The Pope Mountain)
Duration: 5 Training Days between 5-15 March 2022
Partners: Galaxy Training Center & Adwar for social change
Outcome: 15 women in Jabal Al Baba became empowered and more self-reliant in their very challenging economic activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Invited talk: La Palestina, i Palestinesi: giustizia, pace e libertà (Magistratura Democratica - Italy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact AP invited to present on human rights / justice in Palestine, including for the Bedouin, as part of the internal seminar series for Italian progressive judges and prosecutors (Magistratura Democratica).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.magistraturademocratica.it/articolo/la-palestina-i-palestinesi-giustizia-pace-e-liberta
 
Description Project website (in progress) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This is the project website - it's up and gradually being populated
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://palestine-bedouin.qub.ac.uk
 
Description Training on Human Rights for children (Abu Nuwwar) (summer 2021) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact a. Training on Human Rights for children
Target group: 80 Bedouin children of which 35 are females, 45 males
Age group: 5-14
Location: Abu Al-Nuwwar Bedouin community
Duration: 4 Training days between July 25th - August 10th 2021
Partners: 3 Bedouin Teachers from Abu Al-Nuwar community & 3 volunteer women from the community
Outcome: Children of Abu Nawwar are able to recognize diversity and equality in the community and became aware of their basic rights according to international standards
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description UN HRC side event (Sept 21) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact UN Human Rights Council side event: Ensuring Accountability for the displacement of Palestinian Bedouin


The International Association of Democratic Lawyers organized this Side Event for the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, together with a joint project implemented by Queen's University Belfast, Al Quds University / Community Action Center and Human Rights Clinic, Liverpool John Moores University and Trinity College Dublin.

The main speakers at the event were:

Michael Lynk - UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the oPt
Balakrishnan Rajagopal - UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing
Munir Nuseibah - Community Action Centre / Al Quds University, Jerusalem
Alice Panepinto - Queen's University Belfast
Triestino Mariniello - Liverpool John Moores University (Member of the Legal Team representing Gaza victims before the ICC)
The event was moderated by Micol Savia, permanent representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to the UN in Geneva.

This event was hosted online for diplomatic participants working in Geneva / on HRC issues. After the event, the video was posted online and can be viewed by anyone, worldwide.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://iadllaw.org/2021/09/video-ensuring-accountability-for-the-displacement-of-palestinian-bedoui...
 
Description invited talk / Webinar: Justice for Palestine: A question of law (Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Invited talk at a webinar hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden, a non-religious and non-partisan organisation founded in 1976, with currently 1200 members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020