The chief Palestinian negotiator has called for international pressure on Israel to revoke a military order to deport Palestinians from the West Bank.
Israel has issued two orders giving military officials broad and almost total control over the expulsion of Palestinians, after questioning the residency status of thousands of Palestinians residing in the West Bank.
The decree labels these Palestinians as "infiltrators."
In a letter to all ambassadors, consulates and representatives in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, Saeb Erekat condemned the move as a ‘racist’ and ‘flagrant’ violation of all past agreements and international law.
The order is in clear contrast to the Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly Article 49, which prohibits any kind of forcible transfer as well as the deportation of protected persons and civilians from the occupied territory, Erekat said.
The Palestine Liberation Organization official added that the decree would permit the Israeli army to deport any person living in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank — especially Palestinians in the West Bank who have come from Gaza.
The Palestine Center for Human Rights strongly denounced the order as "part of the criminal policy that Israel has developed over the years against the Palestinian people; this policy combines occupation, apartheid, colonization and forced displacement of the population."
The order represents a means for Israel to "control and alter the demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territories, and ultimately impose a Jewish majority in Israel and the occupied territory," the group said in statement.
On Sunday, the Israeli rights group HaMoked sounded an alarm over the decision, saying the new orders substantively change the definition of an "infiltrator" and "effectively apply to anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit."
"The orders do not define what Israel considers a valid permit," the group said, adding that the majority of people living in the West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be in the territory.