International Law- Israeli Violations and Third Party Responsibility


Since the very first clashes between Palestinians and Jewish immigrants in the late 19th/early 20th Century, the quest for control over the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River has had international dimensions. Especially after World War II, an increasingly important factor in the conflict was the development and adoption of international law. Like all nations, Israel is a subject to international law and therefore bound by its regulations in several ways. However, despite the fact that there is a broad international consensus that Israel as an occupier has systematically and constantly violated international law, it was able to do so unabated and with impunity like no other country. The international community, meanwhile, has been criticized by Palestinians (and others) for using aid and development as fig leaves to mitigate their inaction in facing up to Israel’s blatant human rights violations.

Today, violations of international law and the commission of war crimes by the state of Israel are frequently mentioned in the context of the ongoing occupation, which has entered its 50th year, but often people are not fully aware of what this “international law” actually refers to or where and why it is being “violated”. This bulletin intends to shed some light on these questions by surveying the international law regulations currently violated by Israel, which include UN resolutions and articles from treaties and declarations. It introduces the disources of international law and explains third states’ responsibility to enforce them. It further elaborates on the authority and legal power of different sources of international law and gives an overview of Israel’s duties following from it, be it as a state party to treaties, as a subject of UN resolutions, or otherwise.