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Israel disregarding humanitarian law: Red Cross

[JURIST] A unpublished report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] obtained by the New York Times accuses Israel of disregarding "its obligations under international humanitarian law" and "reshaping the development of the Jerusalem metropolitan area" to further its interests to the detriment of the East Jerusalem population with "far-reaching humanitarian consequences." The ICRC, which does not recognize Israel's 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem [B'Tselem backgrounder], specifically criticized Israel's controversial security barrier [JURIST news archive; IDF website] that seeks to partition Israeli and Palestinian populations along the West Bank, often creating Palestinian enclaves that do not allow growth to accommodate economic development and demographic change.

Israel implemented the heightened security measures following a series of high-profile suicide bombings in 2000. Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, acknowledged that Israel received the report in February but said that the country "rejects" the characterization of East Jerusalem as occupied territory and reiterated that Israel was "committed to a diverse and pluralistic Jerusalem." In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an non-binding advisory opinion [text; JURIST report] that the barrier violated international law. Tuesday's New York Times has more.

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