Palestinian takes on UK in court


    BBC. Wednesday, 10 October 2007


    Photo: Oren Ziv. Demonstration Palestine.

A 60-year-old Palestinian will begin a case against the UK government in the High Court later when he will say that sales of arms to Israel are illegal.

Saleh Hassan, who lives on the West Bank, says his land was confiscated by Israel to make way for its barrier.

He claims Israel uses military equipment bought in Britain to repress Palestinians which, he says, violates their human rights.

Israel says the barrier is necessary to prevent acts of terrorism.

Mr Hassan, who lives in Bethlehem, claims that Israel used military equipment to bulldoze his farm and confiscate his land in 2005 to allow the construction of what he calls its “annexation wall”.

He will argue that the UK sale of arms-related equipment to Israel breaks laws that prohibit the export of military equipment to countries where there is a clear risk they might be used for internal repression or the violation of fundamental freedoms.

Mr Hassan will cite a call by the International Court of Justice for the wall to be dismantled.

The Israeli government says the West Bank barrier is a security measure to stop suicide bombers.

Critics say the structure is part of an effort to annex occupied land.

The International Court of Justice has argued that the barrier should not be allowed to become Israel’s new border because it would constitute the expansion of Israeli territory by force.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli MPs he would devote the next year to pursuing peace with the Palestinians.

The Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas was serious about reaching a deal, he added.

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