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|Why Is Israel’s Presence in the Territories Still Called Occupation? Avinoam Sharon|
Why Is Israel’s Presence in the Territories Still Called Occupation? Avinoam Sharon 1
Sur le site du JCPA
For false words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
There is a joke that is currently making the rounds about an Israeli going through passport control at JFK. The immigration officer asks: Occupation? The Israeli says: No. I’m just visiting. The joke is premised upon a general perception of
When an armed force holds territory beyond the borders of its own nation, occupation is the term that most readily comes to mind. It may be difficult to think of a more felicitous term to describe the factual situation.3 But not all the broad spectrum of factual situations that we commonly think of as occupation fall within the limited scope of the term occupation as defined in international law. Not every situation we refer to as occupation is subject to the international legal regime that regulates occupation and imposes obligations upon the occupier.
A striking example of this dual usage of the term occupation is provided by the Army of Occupation Medal. In 1946, the United States War Department issued a medal bearing the words Army of Occupation to recognize soldiers who had served in post-war
The distinction was also made by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in regard to
The Foundations of the Law of Occupation
Historically, occupation was conquest. In former times, enemy territory occupied by a belligerent was in every point considered his State property, so that he could do what he liked with it and its inhabitants.8 But the concept of occupation underwent fundamental change in the nineteenth century.9 With the growing acceptance of the idea that occupiers were subject to legal limitations came the need both to define those limitations and to define the situations to which they applied. The initial internationally accepted legal framework defining and regulating occupation is found in the Hague Regulations (Hague II), 1899.10 Articles 42 and 43 of those Regulations, which are identical to Articles 42 and 43 of the Hague Regulations (Hague IV), 1907,11 set out the conditions that constitute occupation:
Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.
The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
These articles clearly recognize three preconditions for deeming an area to be occupied in the sense of being subject to rules of international law. First, the area is under the actual control of the hostile army. Second, the area was previously the sovereign territory of another state. Third, the occupier holds the area with the purpose of returning it to the prior sovereign. This third precondition would seem to be the underlying idea for respecting the laws in force, and for the other articles of the Convention that require maintenance of the status quo ante bellum. Thus, Oppenheim states: As the occupant actually exercises authority, and the legitimate Government is prevented from exercising its authority, the occupant acquires a temporary right of administration over the territory and its inhabitants; and all legitimate steps he takes in the exercise of this right must be recognized by the legitimate Government after the occupation has ceased.12
The idea that occupation is a temporary state during which foreign control suspends the sovereignty of the legitimate government may be said to express the essential difference between the conception of occupation as it was understood prior to the nineteenth century, and the conception of occupation that grounded its treatment in international law. Acceptance of the principle that sovereignty cannot be alienated by force distinguishes occupation from conquest, and stands at the basis of the Hague Regulations. The foundation upon which the entire law of occupation is based is the principle of inalienability of sovereignty through the actual or threatened use of force... From the principle of inalienable sovereignty over a territory spring the constraints that international law imposes upon the occupant. The power exercising effective control within another sovereign’s territory has only temporary managerial powers, for the period until a peaceful solution is reached. During that limited period, the occupant administers the territory on behalf of the sovereign.13
In light of the fundamental premises of the law of occupation, the problem in defining the Allied presence in post-war
The principle that enemy territory occupied by a belligerent in the course of war remains the territory of the state against which the war was directed, can apply only as long as this community still exists as a state within the meaning of international law. This is hardly the case if, after occupation of the whole territory of an enemy state, its armed forces are completely defeated so that no further resistance is possible and its national government is abolished by the victorious state. Then the vanquished community is deprived of one of the essential elements of a state in the sense of international law: an effective and independent government, and hence has lost its character as a state. If the territory is not to be considered a stateless territory, it must be considered to be under the sovereignty of the occupant belligerent, which – in such a case – ceases to be restricted by the rules concerning belligerent occupation. This was the case with the territory of the German Reich occupied in the Second World War after the complete defeat and surrender of its armed forces.14
Gerhard von Glahn has explained that belligerent occupation as regulated by customary and conventional international law, presupposes a state of affairs in which the sovereign, the legitimate government, of the occupied territory, is at war with the government of the occupying forces.15 And as Yehuda Blum has explained:
This assumption of the concurrent existence, in respect of the same territory, of both an ousted legitimate sovereign and a belligerent occupant lies at the root of all those rules of international law, which, while recognising and sanctioning the occupant’s rights to administer the occupied territory, aim at the same time to safeguard the reversionary rights of the ousted sovereign.16
The law of occupation as envisaged by the Hague Regulations was widely disregarded in the course of World War I, and the need for reconsideration and adjustment was already clear before the onset of World War II. By the end of World War II, the situation was even worse. This led Benvinisti to conclude, [t]he poor record of adherence to this law compromised the status of the Hague Regulations as customary law. Indeed, there is sufficient ground to claim that in light of the recurring disregard of the law of occupation, the Hague Regulations had lost their legal authority by the end of the war.17 This provided the background for the drafting of the Fourth Geneva Convention to supplement the Hague Regulations.
It is important to note that while the Fourth Geneva Convention marks a significant change in focus, it does not purport to change the definition of occupation. Rather, it would appear that the Convention employs the term occupation in accordance with its definition under customary law, as declared in the Hague Regulations. But whereas international law had traditionally focused upon the obligations of states toward other states, the Geneva Convention appears to shift the emphasis to the obligations of belligerent states toward the population of the occupied territory rather than toward the sovereign of that territory. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that Part I, Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifically states:
In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace-time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
The references to High Contracting Parties would appear to reinforce the conclusion that, although the Convention was drafted with a clear recognition of the changing perceptions of the role of states, and with a view toward shifting emphasis from preserving the rights of sovereigns to protecting populations,18 nevertheless, the underlying political nature of the conflict giving rise to the situation of occupation remains unchanged. This should not come entirely as a surprise given that, unlike the Hague Regulations, which declared in the Preamble the purpose to revise the laws and general customs of war, either with the view of defining them more precisely, or of laying down certain limits for the purpose of modifying their severity as far as possible,19 and is thus primarily a declaratory restatement of customary law, the Geneva Convention was drafted as conventional law in order to address the deficiencies in customary law made apparent as a result of the two World Wars. Indeed, as the Introduction to the ICRC commentary to the Fourth Geneva Convention states: The Convention does not invalidate the provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 on the same subjects but is supplementary to them (see Article 154 of the Convention).
As far as the Convention is concerned, occupation remains occupation in its customary sense. The Convention addresses the treatment of civilians in occupied territory as made necessary in light of the deficiencies of international law made apparent in the course of the World Wars, deficiencies that were, at least in large measure, the result of the fact that international law, as it evolved in the nineteenth century, was primarily concerned with the rights of states and their obligations towards one another. The issue of the treatment of civilians that was ancillary to that purpose is primary to the purpose of the Geneva Convention.
In sum, as Glahn points out: Conventional international law recognizes only one form of military occupation: belligerent occupation, that is, the occupation of part or all of an enemy’s territory in time of war; this is the type of occupation covered by the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.20 And as earlier noted, according to Glahn: Belligerent occupation, as discussed up to this point and as regulated by customary and conventional international law, presupposes a state of affairs in which the sovereign, the legitimate government, of the occupied territory, is at war with the government of the occupying forces.21
It is against this background that we may proceed to examine the usage of and ensuing developments in the definition of occupation.
The Israeli Occupation – 1967 22
Occupation in the Absence of Prior Sovereignty
In June 1967, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, Israeli military forces held territories beyond its pre-war borders.23 These territories comprised the
Upon the assumption of control of the territories,
Israel’s argument concerning the de jure application of the law of occupation did not, however, deter it from declaring its intention to act in accordance with customary international law and the humanitarian provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, or from adhering to those rules in practice.29 This intention seems consistent with the view of Blum:
The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that whenever, for one reason or another, there is no concurrence of a normal legitimate sovereign with that of a belligerent occupant of the territory, only that part of the law of occupation applies which is intended to safeguard the humanitarian rights of the population.30
Under the circumstances, one might reasonably ask why
[A]utomatic application of the Fourth Convention would create unintentionally a change in the political status quo by according to
Second, saying that the territories were occupied by
Thus, the primary difference of opinion between
In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
As Shamgar explains:
The Article apparently refers to three alternative situations: (a) Peacetime; (b) Cases of armed conflict; (c) Cases of occupation. The first question is whether the first and second paragraphs of Article 2 are concurrent and complimentary or disjunctive, namely, whether the first paragraph lays down the lex generalis in relation to the extent of the application, which impliedly refers not only to all possible forms of an armed conflict but also to all secondary results and developments and inter alia to military occupation, comprising ex abundante cautela the one described expressis verbis in the second paragraph; or whether, alternatively, there is no linkage between the two paragraphs and each has to be read and interpreted separately and independently, the first paragraph dealing with armed conflicts, except military occupation, and only the second paragraph referring to the occupation of territory.
If the paragraphs are independent and not of a cumulative effect, and only the second paragraph defines the extent of the application to occupied territory, the one and only conclusion arising is that the Convention applies merely to the occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party and not generally to territories held under military occupation. It seems, as a prima facie corollary, that not each and every occupation of territory turns it into territory to which the Convention applies.33
In other words, it was and remains the view of the ICRC that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to all forms of armed conflict, and the question of whether or not a particular territory is occupied in the legal sense is irrelevant to the question of the application of the Convention’s provisions.34
Indeed, there is much to be said in favor of the interpretation advanced by the ICRC. Primarily, the view that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to all conflicts is consistent with the shift in focus from states to people. If the purpose of the Convention is to protect people, the legal status of the source of the threat to their safety and well-being should not make any difference.
Of course, that statement is far too broad, and it is unlikely that the community of nations would accept a statement of obligation that threatens so severe an infringement of sovereignty. While limiting that broad protection only to persons threatened by a conflict of an international character may appear to resolve the issue of a threat to sovereignty,
Moreover, we must bear in mind that to the extent that we are not concerned with the application of customary law, but rather with the construction of a provision of conventional law, care must be taken to respect the intention of the parties. In regard to the second paragraph, the ICRC itself admits: The wording of the paragraph is not very clear, the text adopted by the Government Experts being more explicit.35 But more explicit language was not adopted. While the ICRC’s opinion may be persuasive, it is neither definitive nor constitutive. Ultimately, the parties to a convention cannot be expected to assume obligations beyond those originally contemplated by them. In ratifying a convention, a state does not relinquish its sovereign power to the ICRC. Moreover, in the absence of any example of a state actually acting in accordance with the interpretation of the ICRC in this regard, the ICRC’s view, however laudable in theory, is not the view accepted by the community of nations in practice.
A similar view to that of the ICRC is expressed by Bothe: The unclear status of an occupied territory does not prevent the applicability of the rules of belligerent occupation. The application of humanitarian law cannot be made to depend on such legal niceties as the recognition of legal titles to territory.36 As high sounding and convincing as these statements may appear at first glance, it is worrisome that anyone might think that a source of conflict, wars and bloodshed can be swept away as legal niceties. But even if we ignore the unfortunate choice of words, the statement remains problematic. Its acceptability is largely dependant upon what is meant by the notoriously slippery term humanitarian law. If the author’s intention is to say that the humanitarian provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention should be applied to all conflicts, then the Israeli case provides a supporting precedent for this view. However, if by humanitarian law we mean something broader, e.g., the rules of international law deriving from the Hague and Geneva Conventions, or the international law of armed conflicts, or even the Fourth Geneva Convention in its entirety, then arguably, the legal niceties may present a serious stumbling block to the acceptance of a view that might impose international standards and political obligations upon what a state may deem as a purely internal matter.
As opposed to the approach that seeks to broaden the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention by extending it to all de facto situations of occupation, and on that basis argues for the de jure application of the Convention to the territories administered by
Thus, although the commonly accepted view would seem to be that
As opposed to this, some authors refer to Israel’s presence in the territories as conferring upon Israel a status no more than, no better than, or at the very least,37 that of a belligerent occupant, or not conferring any status beyond38 that of a belligerent occupant. This approach is employed in the context of the question whether or not
When examined solely in terms of the meaning of the term occupation in international law, it would appear that
Occupation and the Peace Process
Occupation in the Absence of Prior Authority
If we were to assume, nevertheless, that
Article 3 of the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty established the international boundary between the two states. In so doing, it would seem – at the very least – that two issues relevant to the occupation of the
Article 3(2) of the Treaty states:
The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a), is the permanent, secure and recognised international boundary between
On the face of it, the without prejudice statement would seem to make the statement irrelevant to our discussion. However, the Article does bear at least two unavoidable implications for
Occupation in the Absence of Effective Control
Although one might imagine that the Interim Agreement40 between
Of course, this view can be countered with the argument that, unlike the Coalition presence in
In summing up
The quintessence of Article 6 [of the Fourth Geneva Convention] is that the continued (albeit partial) application of the Geneva Convention is contingent on the exercise of the functions of government in the occupied territories. Since, pursuant to the agreements with the PLO, Israel has relinquished most powers of government in the bulk of the Gaza Strip and in significant segments of the West Bank (in addition to some powers elsewhere in these territories), the provisions of the Convention can no longer be deemed automatically binding on Israel in the affected areas. Having transferred its authority,
If Israel is to be deemed an occupier of those areas directly under Palestinian control, it could be deemed so only if the term occupation is extended so that it comprises an area under the control of another government, and in the absence of a military presence and effective control, and this by reason of the agreed presence of the occupier in other areas that are the subject of negotiations between the parties pursuant to the agreement.
While the facts on the ground would argue for a reassessment of
Occupation in Absentia
The next stage in the Israeli situation that might have affected the issue of occupation was the withdrawal of all Israeli military personnel and any Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip, and the subsequent ouster of the Palestinian Authority and the takeover of the area by a Hamas government. Surely this would constitute a clear end of the Israeli occupation of Gaza.45 Indeed, even the International Court of Justice admits that territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army, and the occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.46
Surprisingly, it is nevertheless argued that
The arguments advanced for viewing
Ultimately, it would seem that, under the definitions currently advanced for occupation,
In terms of the definition of occupation in customary law, as understood at least since the drafting of the Brussels Code of 1874,
A number of explanations can be offered for this phenomenon in its various manifestations. The first, most obvious, is that the term is frequently employed loosely as a convenient description of a situation in which a military force controls territory beyond the sovereign borders of its own country. It is in this sense that we can understand the Medal of Occupation, or references to the Army of Occupation in
Unfortunately, it would appear that this casual use of the term occupation sometimes influences its use in circumstances where more caution is expected. On occasion, even legal scholars seem to assume that the existence of an Israeli occupation is self-evident and no longer requiring the rigorous examination that they would normally require in other cases. Indeed, in some cases, this commonly known fact of Israeli occupation is offered as a proof of the existence of some proposed principle or as proof of
As opposed to the above, the evolving definition of the term occupation in scholarly literature often reflects what would seem to be an honest concern for the ineffectiveness of customary paradigms and conventional models in applying international humanitarian law to real situations, and the sense that legal lacunae should not translate into legal vacuums in the real world.53 This desire to prevent legal vacuums is not primarily directed at preventing the possibility that a geographic area might be lawless, nor is it related to the historical concern of international law for protecting sovereign rights. Rather, it is an expression of the growing trend toward extending the law of armed conflict to encompass areas of human rights law that has its origins in the shift in focus from states actors to individuals that began with the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This trend is also marked by the growing preference for the term international humanitarian law to refer to the law of war.
But broadening the term occupation in order to expand the incidence of international law in the fear of a legal vacuum is problematic. Redefining custom in the absence of real precedent in order to apply it to new or sui generis circumstances cannot be justified merely by a perceived moral imperative. Novel constructions of conventional law that do not reflect the contemplation of the contracting parties are not made legitimate by virtue of their internal consistency or perceived desirability. Broadening the scope of concepts like occupation and inventing subclasses of occupation to embrace every unforeseen development and every sui generis set of circumstances makes the scope of incidence vast beyond reason, and the ridiculous is easily ignored. Not surprisingly, the legal community’s attempts at redefining occupation have mainly succeeded in reinforcing and refining the customs and usages of noncompliance.
The scholarly world may well be disappointed that reality does not meet the standards of an idealized law. But rather than attempt to redefine without authority, it might be more fruitful to study that inadequate reality, and examine the many forms that occupation has taken in practice in order to arrive at a body of precedent – both positive and negative. The Israeli experience in this context can be of particular value inasmuch as it represents the only comprehensive attempt to apply international humanitarian law to a situation of military administration without regard for the question of whether or not that administration constitutes occupation or is sui generis.54 It is of further interest because the attempt has been carried out with civilian review under the watchful eye of the Israeli Supreme Court, a court that has earned the esteem of the international legal community.
Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the approach developed by the Supreme Court that views the armed forces as a state agency subject to the state’s administrative law even when operating outside the state’s sovereign territory. This approach imposes standards of civilian review of military conduct not common in other jurisdictions, and grants standing to persons affected by the military regime, even though such persons (whether or not viewed as residents of an occupied territory, or as protected persons, or as unlawful combatants) would not enjoy such standing to challenge military decisions under international law. It has also enabled the Court to apply human rights standards to military conduct by virtue of the army’s obligation – as an agent of the state – to act reasonably and in accordance with Israeli domestic law.55
This approach has produced a large corpus of legal precedent that can be studied, appraised and mined for application to other instances of alleged occupation, and particularly to the more common cases of military administration that deem themselves sui generis, exceptional or otherwise unbound by international law. Inasmuch as no other state has systematically applied the Fourth Geneva Convention and the law of occupation to territory under its control to the extent that they have been applied by
Another possible explanation is that the term occupation is employed politically, without regard for its general or legal meaning. The use of the term occupation in political rhetoric can be useful in simplifying debate. It reduces complex situations of competing claims and rights to clear-cut, predefined categories of right and wrong. The possibility of using the term occupation as a pejorative to vilify or delegitimize a party to a conflict rather than confront the legal, military and humanitarian issues is also not easily discounted.58
The use of the terms occupation and occupier in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also serves to advance the argument that Israel bears ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the Palestinians, while limiting or denying Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian terror,59 and while relieving the Palestinian side of responsibility for its own actions and decisions and their consequences. This purposeful use of the term occupation would appear to be an important factor motivating the reinterpretation and expansion of the concept of occupation.
The use of the term occupation to maintain
Unfortunately, political use and misuse of the term occupation has a detrimental effect upon the law and, potentially, upon the people deserving its protection. Making the definition of occupation subject to political interests and influence rather than to the formal requirements of international law erodes the power of the law to govern conflicts. While a criticism of legalism and formalism in the application of international law may serve the agendas of those seeking to broaden or contract the applicability of legal norms, it is legalism and formalism that provide the necessary degree of certainty that actors in the international arena require no less than individuals. The fundamental principles of law and legality should not be sacrificed to a momentary purpose no matter how noble, particularly bearing in mind how often in history noble purpose has proven to be evil in disguise.
* * *
1. Avinoam Sharon - A.B. (Columbia), LL.B. (Hebrew U.), M.A. (JTS), Lt. Colonel (IDF res.), former IDF Military Attorney for Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This paper expands upon and updates ideas presented by the author in his article Keeping Occupied: The Evolving Law of Occupation, 1 REGENT J.L. & PUB. POL’Y 145 (2009). The views expressed here are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the IDF, the State of Israel, or any of its agencies.
2. The joke would not work as well if we would say, for example, Chinese instead of Israeli, although the Chinese control of
3. Thus, for example, in explaining that Germany was not subject to the law of occupation following the Second World War, Kelsen refers to the un-occupied territory administered by the Allies as: the territory of the German Reich occupied in the Second World War after the complete defeat and surrender of its armed forces [emphasis added – A.S.]. HANS KELSEN, PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 76 (1952).
4. As Lauterpacht concluded, the government of
5. Talabani says time not ripe to seek
6. Daniel Thürer, Current Challenges to the Law of Occupation, speech delivered by Professor Daniel Thürer, Member, International Committee of the Red Cross, 6th Bruges Colloquium, 20-21 October 2005, <http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/occu pation-statement-211105?opendocument>.
7. Indeed, as Robbie Sabel pointed out, neither the
8. OPPENHEIM, INTERNATIONAL LAW VOL. II, 341-42, H Lauterpacht ed., 7th ed. (1952), 432.
9. For a review of the historical development of international law, and specifically the law of occupation, see DORIS APPEL GRABER, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAW OF BELLIGERENT OCCUPATION 1863-1914 (1949).
10. Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annex to the Convention (II) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1899. The definition of occupation adopted by the regulations is that of the Brussels Code of 1874, see GRABER, ibid., 59-61.
11. Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annex to the Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1907. Although the English versions of Articles 42 and 43 appear slightly different in the English translations of Hague 1899 and Hague 1907, the French versions are identical:
Article 42: Un territoire est considéré comme occupé lorsqu’il se trouve placé de fait sous l’autorité de l’armée ennemie. L’occupation ne s’étend qu’aux territoires où cette autorité est établie et en mesure de s’exercer.
Article 43: L’autorité du pouvoir légal ayant passé de fait entre les mains de l’occupant, celui-ci prendra toutes les mesures qui dépendent de lui en vue de rétablir et d’assurer, autant qu’il est possible, l’ordre et la vie publics en respectant, sauf empêchement absolu, les lois en vigueur dans le pays.
On the differences between Hague 1899 and Hague 1907, see GERHARD VON GLAHN, THE OCCUPATION OF ENEMY TERRITORY, 296 (1957). For a comparison of the texts of Hague 1899, Hague 1907, and the
12. OPPENHEIM, INTERNATIONAL LAW VOL. II, H Lauterpacht ed., 6th ed. (1944), 341-42; OPPENHEIM, INTERNATIONAL LAW VOL II, H. Lauterpacht ed., 7th ed. (1952), 436-37. In this article, I refer to these editions of Oppenheim as they reflect the understanding of international law in the period leading up to and immediately following the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
13. EYAL BENVENISTI, THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF OCCUPATION 5-6, (1993).
14. HANS KELSEN, PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 75-76 (1952).
15. GERHARD VON GLAHN, THE OCCUPATION OF
16. Yehuda Z. Blum, The Missing Reversioner: Reflections on the Status of
17. BENVENISTI, supra note 13, 59.
18. For a discussion of this shift in emphasis, see BENVENISTI, supra note 13, chapter four.
19. Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, <http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/195?OpenDocument>.
20. GLAHN (1957), supra note 15, 27.
21. Op. cit., 273.
22. This jump from 1949 to 1967 reflects an apparent lack of developments in the area of occupation during this period. This lack of development does not mean that there were no situations that might have warranted being termed occupation. In the context of this study, it is interesting in light of the Egyptian presence in
23. I refer to pre-war borders bearing in mind that the borders between Israel and the adjacent Arab states did not have the status of recognized international borders, but rather constituted ceasefire lines established between Israel and her neighbors under the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Leba non.
24. Farhy, Current Trends in the Areas Administered by
25. The questions related to the legal status of the extension of Israeli law to the Golan under the Golan Heights Law, 1981, and to the transfer of sovereignty over the Golan to Syria as a result of the Franco-British Convention on Certain Points Connected with the Mandates for Syria and the Lebanon, Palestine and Mesopotamia, 1920, go beyond the limited scope of this article. For a discussion of the historical background, see Y. Meron, The Golan Heights, in MEIR SHAMGAR, ED., MILITARY GOVERNMENT IN THE TERRITORIES ADMINISTERED BY ISRAEL 1967-1980 (1982) 85.
26. See Carol Farhi, On the Le gal Status of the
27. See, Malanczuk, supra n. 22, 1490; Blum, supra n. 16, 289-290.
28. Meir Shamgar, Legal Concepts and Problems of the Israeli Military Government – The Initial Stage, in SHAMGAR, supra note 25, 13, 31 ff.; Blum, supra note 15, 289 ff.
29. Shamgar, supra note 25, 32; Farhy, supra n. 23, 50; Yoram Dinstein, The International Legal Dimensions of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in KELLERMAN, SIEHR, EINHORN, EDS., ISRAEL AMONG THE NATIONS, 137, 150-51(1998). For a review of the official Israeli position on the application of the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention and the position of the Israeli Supreme Court, see Nissim Bar-Yaakov, The Application of the Law of War to the Administered Territories, 18 MISHPATIM 831 (1990) (the article is in Hebrew, however the statements of Israel’s official position are quoted in English).
30. Blum, supra n. 16, 294.
31. Shamgar, supra note 28, 37.
32. DAVID YAHAV,
33. Shamgar, supra note 28, 38.
34. See ICRC Commentary to Geneva Convention IV, 21-22 <http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/COM/380- 600005?OpenDocument>; and see, GERHAD VON GLAHN, LAW AMONG NATIONS, 7th ed. (1996) 667.
35. ICRC Commentary, 22.
36. Bothe, supra note 22, 764.
37. E.g., Blum, supra note 16, 294.
38. E.g., Malanczuk, supra note 22, 1493.
39. ICRC Note to the Government of Israel of
40. The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in Washington, D.C., on September 28, 1995, 36 I.L.M. 551 (1997). For a brief summary of the Interim Agreement and the events leading up to it, see Efrat Ungar v. Palestine Liberation Organization et al., 402 F.3d 274 (1st Cir. 2005).
41. See, e.g., Ungar, ibid.
42. Yoram Dinstein, The International Legal Dimensions of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in KELLERMAN, SIEHR, EINHORN, EDS., ISRAEL AMONG THE NATIONS, 137, 153 (1998).
43. Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the
44. See Daniel Thürer & Malcolm Maclaren, Ius Post Bellum’ in Iraq: A Challenge to the Applicability and Relevance of International Humanitarian Law, in FESTSCHRIFT FÜR JOST DELBRÜCK (Berlin, 2005), <http://www.ivr.uzh.ch/lstthuerer/forschung/FSDelbrueck.pdf>.
45. See Yuva l Shany, Faraway, So Close: The Legal Status of
46. Supra, n. 43.
47. See, e.g., Ariel Zemach, Taking War Seriously: Applying the Law of War to Hostilities within an Occupied Territory, 38 GEO. WASH. INT’L L. REV. 645 (2006).
48. Sari Bashi and Kenneth Mann, Disengaged Occupiers: The Legal Status of Gaza, position paper by Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, 2007, http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/Report%20for%20the%20website.pdf; and cf. Yuval Shany, supra n. 45, and Yuval Shany, Binary Law Meets Complex Reality: The Occupation of Gaza Debate, 41 IS.L.REV.68, 71-72 (2008).
49. Bashi and Mann, ibid., p. 18.
50. Ibid., pp. 64 ff. It should be noted that in making its assertion, the authors restate the Israeli government’s understanding of the term occupation as solely based upon the question of the presence of troops. In other words, the authors represent effective control as the Israeli government’s definition and then argue against the government’s narrow understanding of that definition. This studiously inaccurate presentation of the Israeli position makes it easier for the authors of the paper to advance their counter claim. Be that as it may, the theoretical claim of effective control by an invisible ha nd is not easily reconciled with a lack of the actual physical presence necessary for the performance of an occupier’s obligations towards the civilian population (see Shany, supra n. 45 at 380), nor is it easily reconciled with a reality of uncontrolled rocket and mortar fire from the allegedly controlled area.
51. See Sabel, supra n. 7.
52. An example of such circularity is provided by Rotem Giladi: The Israeli-Palestinian context demonstrates that occupation exists even in the event the territory is taken from a state having no (recognized!) sovereign title over the territory [emphasis original]. Rotem Giladi, The Jus ad Bellum/Jus in
53. The ongoing debates on
54. Yuval Shany has described the Israeli presence in the territories as the most conspicuous long-term occupation situation in which the occupier has accepted the applicability, at least de facto, of a significant part of the body of laws of occupation. Yuva l Sha ny, Forty Years After 1967: Reappraising the Role and Limits of the Legal Discourse on Occupation in the Israeli-Palestinian Context, 41 IS.L.REV. 6, 7 (2008).
55. In a recent decision concerning military operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel Supreme Court President Beinisch wrote for the Court: According to the aforesaid, the normative arrangements that govern the State of Israel when it conducts combat operations in the Gaza Strip derive from several legal sources. These legal sources include international humanitarian law, which is enshrined mainly in the Fourth Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1907, and the regulations annexed thereto, whose provisions have the status of customary international law; the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 1949, whose customary provisions constitute a part of the law of the State of Israel and have required interpretation by this court in several judgments...; and the first Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 1977 (hereafter – the First Protocol’), to which Israel is not a party, but whose customary provisions also constitute a part of Israeli law....In addition to international law, the fundamental rules of Israeli public law also apply....According to the rules of Israeli public law, the army is liable to act, inter alia, fairly, reasonably and proportionately, while properly balancing the liberty of the individual against the needs of the public and while taking into account security considerations and the nature of the hostilities occurring in the area. HCJ 201/09 Physicians for Human Rights et al. v. The Prime Minister of Israel et al., para. 15, available in English at <http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/09/010/002/n07/09002010.n07.htm>. In an earlier decision, former Supreme Court President Barak wrote: In a long line of judgments, the Supreme Court has determined the standards for the scope of judicial review of decisions and acts of the military commander in territory held under belligerent occupation. This judicial review is anchored in the status of the military commander as a public official, and in the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice to issue orders to bodies fulfilling public functions by law. HCJ 7957/04 Mara’abe et al. v. The Prime Minister et al. (the Security Barrier case) available in English at: <http://elyon1.court.gov.il/Files_ENG/04/570/079/a14/04079570.a14.htm>. Note that in the course of the decision, the Court employs the term belligerent occupation in regard to Israel, noting that inasmuch as Israel has de facto agreed to act as a belligerent occupant in applying the law, the Court need not address the de jure status of Israel’s presence in the territories. To date, the Israeli Supreme Court has not ruled on the de jure status of
56. With the exception of the Israeli occupation after the 1967 war, all other occupants after World War II refrained from resorting to the Hague Regulations or the Fourth Geneva Convention as the source of their authority or as a guide to their actions. The propensity to avoid the regime of occupation is particularly noticeable in the various occupations of the 1970s and early 1980s. BENVENISTI, supra n. 17, 180.
57. BENVENISTI, supra n. 17, 197-99; Tristan Ferraro, Enforcement of Occupation Law in Domestic Courts: Issues and Opportunities, 41 IS.L.REV. 331, 352-54 (2008).
58. On the use of the term occupation as an accusation, see Dore Gold, supra n. 2.
59. The ICJ opinion on the security barrier represents just one example of politically motivated abuse of international law and the concept of occupation in this regard. On that decision, see, e.g., §23 of President Barak’s opinion in HCJ 7957/04 Mara’abe, supra n. 55.
Mis en ligne le 17 juillet 2009, par M. Macina, sur le site upjf.org