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STUDY GUIDE : International Law & Israel
Israeli Violations of International Law - (6) The current Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal. Military actions and occupations are considered legal only if they are based on self-defense (as Israel claims), but it is now clear that Israel's occupation is illegal because Israeli implementation of it clearly is about (1) acquisition of land by force, (2) economic exploitation of the occupied communities (both violations of international law), (3) through unwarranted self-serving alterations of local law (also a violation of international law), and (4) in violation of human rights through the practice of collective punishment and (5) the creation of "de facto" annexation also benefitting Israel and at the expense of the local population .
ISRAELI VIOLATION: HISTORY & THEORY
Israel claims that its occupation of adjacent Palestinian lands is only temporary, and only for the sake of securing peace and security for itself in the face of the overt hostility that surrounds it. This claim is legal and represents the right of all nations and peoples to defend themselves.
The problem is that Israel's actions and laws and internal political messaging to its own people suggest completely different intentions behind its occupation - intentions which would actually make their occupation of Palestinian lands illegal. And most would agree that government/military action taken, formal laws passed, and internal political messaging describe more accurately the actual intentions of a government versus what it says in international diplomatic circles and to the international press.
Israel's illegal actions in the occupied Palestinian territories are multiple beginning with (1) the outright annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, (2) the widespread placement of substantial illegal Israeli civilian settlements throughout the occupied territories (3) connected by Israeli-use only roads, and (4) the construction of a wall/fence throughout the West Bank virtually destroying the communities it cuts through or surrounds, both of which create a condition of de facto annexation which significantly interferes with the Palestinian people's rights to self-determination and their human rights, (5) the significant transformation of the local legal system in the territories giving the Israeli settlements special privileges and legally and financially linking them to Israel, and then establishing a separate governing system for the Palestinian population centers which both oppresses them and exploits them thus also violating their human rights and inalienable right of self-determination.
All of the above are in flagrant violation of international law, and does not at all reflect mere self-defense. It is a matter of proportionality (an important legal principle) - that the above is far more than what would be expected as a reasonable, proportional response to the threat that Israel faces from the Palestinian rebellion. In fact, the above is so oppresive and destructive to Palestinian society, that the rebellion would appear to be the reasonable response, although deadly violence against civilians is never acceptable. It is also important to note that all of the above is backed-up by a substantial body of Israeli government law both within Israel as well as within the occupied territories (in the form of Israeli military orders).
And all of this is backed up by political speeches at all levels of government since before the establishment of the State of Israel about how the Jewish people have a biblical right to possess all of "Eretz Israel".
Thus, a military occupation established around goals of annexation of the occupied lands and exploitation of the people who live there, rationalized by religious dogma, and codified in the occupier's own laws, is clearly an illegal occupation.
Please see the section in this website on Israeli Military Orders for more details.
ISRAELI VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
RELEVANT QUOTES FROM TEXT
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(C) Israel Law Resource Center, February, 2007.