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STUDY GUIDES: Israeli Law Israeli Military Orders International Law International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Wall

STUDY GUIDE : International Law & Israel

Israeli Violations of International Law - (9) Israel has violated 28 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (which are legally binding on member-nations), and almost 100 resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (which are not binding, but represent the will and understanding of the international community). And Israel is now in violation of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 2004, condemning the separation wall Israel is building throughout the occupied West Bank.


The Charter of the United Nations describes the mission of the UN to protect world peace, and the human rights and self-determination of its inhabitants, and to foster cooperation amongst all nations to the benefit of everyone..

The Charter assigns implementation of this mission primarily to the Security Council, in cooperation with the General Assembly and the other four organs of the UN.

The UN Security Council has passed a large number of resolutions condemning Israel for its actions in the Middle East and against the Palestinian people and surrounding nations. The General Assembly has passed over 100 resolutions condemning Israeli actions and policies. In addition, the International Court of Justice has ruled that the wall that Israel is building through the occupied Palestinian territories substantially violates the human rights of the Palestinian people and needs to be torn down immediately, and the people affected must be compensated for their losses.

Israel has ignored all of the resolutions of the Security Council, which is a violation of the Charter, and by extension, international law. And it has also ignored all of the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court.

In addition, it is important to note that in support of Israel, the United States has exercised its veto power in the Security Council to cancel out many other resolutions that were otherwise passed unanimously or by the vaste majority of its members.

Below is a chart listing all UN Security Council resolutions that are violated, and which UN resolution declares that violation. For more information on this and other topics concerning UN resolutions and the Palestine/Israel conflict, please see the Study Guide on UN resolutions.

Israel conflict with Neighbors: 1948 - 1967
Israel 6-Day War & Occupation: 1967 - present
Israeli Invasion of Lebanon: 1968 - present
Resolutions Violated by Israel
Resolutions declaring those Violations



93, 101, 106, 111


Resolutions Violated by Israel
Resolutions declaring those Violations






















248, 265

248, 446

256, 265


267, 298, 446




469, 608, 694



608, 694



673, 681



Resolutions Violated by Israel
Resolutions declaring those Violations







270, 280, 316

280, 316





One important example of this is UN General Assembly Resolution 194(III) which demanded Israel respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and communities following the end of fighting in 1948. To this day, Israel has refused to allow the return of the vaste majority of those refugees.

This violation of a General Assembly resolution is especially cruel in light of Israel awarding automatic citizenship to all Jews immigrating to Israel, calling that the "Right of Return", and then housing those people in the same neighborhoods and often actual homes of the Palestinians who, either were chased out by Israeli military forces, or who only left their homes themselves because they feared being harmed in the fighting. They have even done this to Palestinian people who fled the fighting or approaching Israeli military just to different areas within what became the State of Israel.

Keeping people from returning to their own homes and communities so that they also lost their livelihood, and their kids lost their schools, is a clear violation of their human rights and international humanitarian law (Geneva Conventions). Approximately 750,000 people suffered this fate.

But more serious is the fact that most of these people were chased out of their homes and communities by military forces, and then kept from returning - this is, by definition -- ethnic cleansing -- and this is a crime against humanity. Since 1910, the Zionist organizations that started the State of Israel, and then the Israeli government itself have practiced ethnic cleansing in a number of ways. Please see the Ethnic Cleansing section of this Study Guide for more details.




  • Major Legal Principle Violated -
    • Member-Nations of the United Nations have signed a contract with the United Nations that they will obey the resolutions of the Security Council. Israel has violated numerous Security Council resolutions, and has ignored many resolutions of the General Assembly, and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which ruled that Israel's security wall was in violation of international law, and thus should be removed immediately, and those Palestinian inhabitants who have been harmed by the wall's construction should be paid compensation for their losses.
  • As Per International Law -
    • Charter of the United Nations, article 25 (26 June 1945) (full text) (specific article - see below)
  • International Response -
    • United Nations -
      • UN Resolutions (sampling of UN resolutions declaring Israeli violations quoted below)
      • International Court of Justice - 2004 advisory opinion on the wall in paragraphs 137, 149-159 rules the wall illegal and that it should be taken down immediately, and all persons harmed by its construction should be compensated for their losses.
    • International Miscellaneous response -
    • Academic Analysis -


    • UN Charter (1945), article 25:
      Article 25. The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.
    • International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of Construction of a Wall in the Palestinian Occupied Territory (2004), paragraphs 137, 149-159:
      137. To sum up, the Court, from the material available to it, is not convinced that the specific course Israel has chosen for the wall was necessary to attain its security objectives. The wall, along the route chosen, and its associated régime gravely infringe a number of rights of Palestinians residing in the territory occupied by Israel, and the infringements resulting from that route cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order. The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of various of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

      149. The Court notes that Israel is first obliged to comply with the international obligations it has breached by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (see paragraphs 114 137 above). Consequently, Israel is bound to comply with its obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self determination and its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Furthermore, it must ensure freedom of access to the Holy Places that came under its control following the 1967 War (see paragraph 129 above).

      150. The Court observes that Israel also has an obligation to put an end to the violation of its international obligations flowing from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The obligation of a State responsible for an internationally wrongful act to put an end to that act is well established in general international law, and the Court has on a number of occasions confirmed the existence of that obligation (Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 149; United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1980, p. 44, para. 95; Haya de la Torre, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1951, p. 82).

      151. Israel accordingly has the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built by it in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. Moreover, in view of the Court's finding (see paragraph 143 above) that Israel's violations of its international obligations stem from the construction of the wall and from its associated régime, cessation of those violations entails the dismantling forthwith of those parts of that structure situated within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. All legislative and regulatory acts adopted with a view to its construction, and to the establishment of its associated régime, must forthwith be repealed or rendered ineffective, except in so far as such acts, by providing for compensation or other forms of reparation for the Palestinian population, may continue to be relevant for compliance by Israel with the obligations referred to in paragraph 153 below.

      152. Moreover, given that the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has, inter alia, entailed the requisition and destruction of homes, businesses and agricultural holdings, the Court finds further that Israel has the obligation to make reparation for the damage caused to all the natural or legal persons concerned. The Court would recall that the essential forms of reparation in customary law were laid down by the Permanent Court of International Justice in the following terms:
      "The essential principle contained in the actual notion of an illegal act a principle which seems to be established by international practice and in particular by the decisions of arbitral tribunals is that reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and reestablish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if that act had not been committed. Restitution in kind, or, if this is not possible, payment of a sum corresponding to the value which a restitution in kind would bear; the award, if need be, of damages for loss sustained which would not be covered by restitution in kind or payment in place of it such are the principles which should serve to determine the amount of compensation due for an act contrary to international law." (Factory at Chorzów, Merits, Judgment No. 13, 1928, P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 17, p. 47.)

      153. Israel is accordingly under an obligation to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized from any natural or legal person for purposes of construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the event that such restitution should prove to be materially impossible, Israel has an obligation to compensate the persons in question for the damage suffered. The Court considers that Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall's construction.

      154. The Court will now consider the legal consequences of the internationally wrongful acts flowing from Israel's construction of the wall as regards other States.

      155. The Court would observe that the obligations violated by Israel include certain obligations erga omnes. As the Court indicated in the Barcelona Traction case, such obligations are by their very nature "the concern of all States" and, "In view of the importance of the rights involved, all States can be held to have a legal interest in their protection." (Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited, Second Phase, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1970, p. 32, para. 33.) The obligations erga omnes violated by Israel are the obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self determination, and certain of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

      156. As regards the first of these, the Court has already observed (paragraph 88 above) that in the East Timor case, it described as "irreproachable" the assertion that "the right of peoples to self determination, as it evolved from the Charter and from United Nations practice, has an erga omnes character" (I.C.J. Reports 1995, p. 102, para. 29). The Court would also recall that under the terms of General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV), already mentioned above (see paragraph 88),
      "Every State has the duty to promote, through joint and separate action, realization of the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, and to render assistance to the United Nations in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to it by the Charter regarding the implementation of the principle . . ."

      157. With regard to international humanitarian law, the Court recalls that in its Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, it stated that "a great many rules of humanitarian law applicable in armed conflict are so fundamental to the respect of the human person and 'elementary considerations of humanity' . . .", that they are "to be observed by all States whether or not they have ratified the conventions that contain them, because they constitute intransgressible principles of international customary law" (I.C.J. Reports 1996 (I), p. 257, para. 79). In the Court's view, these rules incorporate obligations which are essentially of an erga omnes character.

      158. The Court would also emphasize that Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a provision common to the four Geneva Conventions, provides that "The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances." It follows from that provision that every State party to that Convention, whether or not it is a party to a specific conflict, is under an obligation to ensure that the requirements of the instruments in question are complied with.

      159. Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. It is also for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self determination is brought to an end. In addition, all the States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 are under an obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.


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(C) Israel Law Resource Center, February, 2007.