Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday lamented his inability to deport the families of terrorists, arguing that courts were misinterpreting the Geneva Conventions’ provisions regarding population transfers.
“There is one thing we have not managed to do,” Netanyahu said at a Likud meeting in Ofakim. “We have not managed to bring about deportation of terrorists’ families. We cannot do this because the courts define this as a war crime. That is how it is defined in the Geneva Conventions, etc.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)
“I think the intention there regarded relocation of entire populations,” continued the prime minister. “They interpret it as relocating one person or other. I am certain this was not the intent of those who legislated the conventions. But that’s how they interpret it in the world and, unfortunately, that’s how they interpret it here. This I cannot manage to do.”
The prime minister also discussed measures to deter terrorists. “The most important thing is demolition of houses,” he said. “We are demolishing houses, and we are discovering that this has a decent effect. I saw that it wasn’t moving and was taking time. There is too great a time gap, and therefore every Sunday after the government meeting, every Sunday without exceptions, for three weeks now, I summon all the relevant elements to me – the Justice Ministry, the IDF, the Shin Bet, and ask for a report about what happened.
Ruins of house where a terrorist who murdered two Israelis lived (Photo: Reuters)
“The second thing,” said the prime minister, “is that we are going into the villages and neighborhoods that we once would not enter. We are working actively. We are closing towns and placing restrictions n movement, as well as revoking work permits.”
Netanyahu also referred to occasional rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. “Take note, even if a rocket is fired mistakenly, a response always comes,” he said. “Did you notice? We once said that ‘trickles’ were all right. There are no trickles. There is an immediate response.”
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to criticize UK Prime Minister David Cameron for saying that “the situation in East Jerusalem is genuinely shocking”.
“My friend David Cameron, who is without a doubt a friend of Israel, apparently forgot a few basic facts about Jerusalem: Only Israeli sovereignty prevents ISIS and Hamas from burning the holy sites,” said Netanyahu.
“Only Israeli sovereignty ensures that Arab residents in the city get roads, clinics, employment opportunities, and other means for normal life that their brothers throughout the Middle East do not enjoy,” he added. “Only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem maintains the rule of law for everyone, something that does not exist in Iran, or Yemen, or Syria, or Libya, or wide swathes of the Arab world, particularly the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. Only Israeli sovereignty guarantees all this and it’s important that our friends in Europe remember this simple fact.”