January 20, 2020

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Of course Israel has the right to install metal detectors under international law


Saeb Erekat, among others, claim that Israel’s placing metal detectors at all the entrances to the Temple Mount (it already had them at the single entrance for non-Muslims) is a violation of international law.

For example:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday called on the international community to make Israel remove metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount.
“We call on the international community and the Arab and Islamic states to take responsibility for… stopping the occupation’s measures that are in contravention with all laws, agreements and international charters,” he said.

Even if one regards parts of Jerusalem as occupied, the Fourth Geneva Convention very clearly allows the occupying power wide latitude in what it deems necessary for security measures. In fact, security measures override many other rights mentioned in Geneva.
The most relevant section is Article 27, which reads in full:
Art. 27. Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.
Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault.
Without prejudice to the provisions relating to their state of health, age and sex, all protected persons shall be treated with the same consideration by the Party to the conflict in whose power they are, without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion.
However, the Parties to the conflict may take such measures of control and security in regard to protected persons as may be necessary as a result of the war.

 The ICRC’s 1958 commentary on the last paragraph says:

The various security measures which States might take are not specified; the Article merely lays down a general provision. There are a great many measures, ranging from comparatively mild restrictions such as the duty of registering with and reporting periodically to the police authorities, the carrying of identity cards or special papers, or a ban on the carrying of arms, to harsher provisions such as a prohibition on any change in place of residence without permission, prohibition of access to certain areas, restrictions of movement, or even assigned residence and internment. 

A great deal is thus left to the discretion of the Parties to the conflict as regards the choice of means. What is essential is that the measures of constraint they adopt should not affect the fundamental rights of the persons concerned. As has been seen, those rights must be respected even when measures of constraint are justified.

Note that the mild restrictions enumerated by the Convention are far more severe than requiring people to walk through a metal gate.

There are absolutely no restrictions of any fundamental rights of any persons – except for Jews who are now banned from visiting the Temple Mount because some uttered prayers out of earshot of any Muslims.

As always, the Palestinians and their allies are perverting international law.

And as always, the media’s vaunted “fact checkers” don’t even bother doing their jobs when the lies don’t offend them.

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