Palestinian land under the international humanitarian law
- 1349 Defa Okundu
The application of IHL has been clearly and authoritatively established with regard to the oPt, despite the fact that Israel disputes this.
The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Protection of civilian Persons in time of War confirmed the applicability of its provisions in time of armed conflict, and the above-mentioned Convention and additional Protocol I of 1977 apply to situations of international armed conflicts relating to the struggle of peoples against foreign domination and occupation. The Convention shall enter into force from the moment when the hostilities actually commence, irrespective of whether such operations are declared, undeclared or recognized by a Contracting Party.
The provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention apply to the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and continue to apply as long as the military occupation persists, and United Nations resolutions have affirmed in successive resolutions that international humanitarian law, including the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, should be applied to the occupied Palestinian territories. It criticized the measures taken by the occupation authorities toward these lands and their inhabitants, and condemned the changes that Israel made to the situations in Jerusalem city, considering them invalid and illegitimate, and demanded their immediate cancellation. The UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly stressed the necessity of the Fourth Geneva Convention to be applied to the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem.
International law sets out the framework to which Israel should abide in its practices within the occupied Palestinian territories, international humanitarian law shall apply in times of armed conflict in time of occupation, and human rights law shall apply in times of peace. It is now the practice that the provisions of human rights laws also continue to apply in times of war and occupation in parallel with the provisions of international humanitarian law. The fact that the protection afforded by international humanitarian law to citizens and victims of war is narrower than that provided by human rights law significantly expands the new perception of protection for citizens in times of armed conflict, in exceptional cases where the provisions of humanitarian law are inconsistent with the provisions of human rights law during armed conflict.
Humanitarian law also defines the provisions applicable to the occupying Power, in accordance with these provisions, the occupation is temporary - by definition the occupying Power is never the sovereign power in the occupied territory. The fact that occupation is temporarily the source of restrictions on the occupying Power, in particular the principle that prevents the occupying Power from making permanent changes in the area it occupies (imposing facts on the ground), unless the purpose is to serve the interests of the local population or the immediate military needs of the occupying Power; The occupying Power is prohibited from changing the laws in force in the region, establishing permanent settlements and exploiting the resources of the occupied area. These provisions also specify that the population in the occupied area since the pre-occupation is "protected" and hence the occupying Power is prohibited from imposing collective punishment on these populations, not using violence against them, from confiscating their private property or from expelling them from their homes.