Other than the demolition of homes what other international laws does the Israeli Occupation violate?

Virtually all of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands violates human rights conventions – and especially the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbids an occupying power from making its presence a permanent one. Thus:

  • Articles 50 and 51 of the “Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Convention” emphasize the protection of civilians in time of war. “The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians…. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations.”
  • Article 3 prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” a routine element of Palestinian life under Israel’s occupation.
  • Article 32 forbids assassinations, and any brutalization of the civilian population, including their treatment at checkpoints and in “security searches.”
  • Article 33 prohibiting pillage would obtain to Israel’s extensive use of West Bank and Gazan water resources, especially as they are denied the local population. It also prohibits the use of collective punishment, as represented by the imposition of closure, curfew, house demolitions and many other routine actions of the Occupation Authorities.
  • Article 39 stipulates: “Protected persons [residents of occupied lands] who, as a result of the war, have lost their gainful employment, shall be granted the opportunity to find paid employment.” It thereby prohibits the imposition a permanent “closure” on the Occupied Territories, such as Israel has done since 1993.
  • Article 64 forbids changes in the local legal system that, among other things, alienate the local population from its land and property, as Israel has done through massive land expropriations.
  • Article 146 holds accountable individuals who have committed “grave breaches” of the Convention. According to Article 147, this includes many acts routinely practiced under the Occupation, such as willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury, unlawful deportation, taking of hostages, extensive destruction, and appropriation of property. Israeli courts have thus far failed to charge or prosecute Israeli officials, military personnel or police who have committed such acts.
  • The PLO also bears a measure of responsibility for the violations of its own people’s rights under the Fourth Geneva Convention. According to Article 8, the PLO had no right in the Oslo Agreements to abrogate their rights and suspend the applicability of the Convention, since “Protected persons may in no circumstances renounce in part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention.” Had international humanitarian law been the basis of the Oslo peace process rather than power-negotiations, the Occupation would have ended and the conditions for a just peace would have been established, since virtually every element of Israel’s occupation violates a provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
What solution does ICAHD advocate?

ICAHD does not advocate for a particular solution, believing that that is the Palestinians’ prerogative. If the Palestinians think a two-state solution would work (and this is still the policy of the PA), we would support it. We would also support a one-state solution, be it bi-national or democratic, and also other possibilities – a regional confederation, for example.

ICAHD will support any solution that it inclusive of both Israeli and Palestinian peoples, will bring an end to all violence, and is rooted in human rights. Rather than a particular solution, we advocate for an approach to peace that contains the following elements:

Is a two-state solution still possible?

We at ICAHD have come to the conclusion that the two-state solution is gone, buried by the settlements, the Israeli-only highways, the Wall and the other massive, permanent “facts on the ground” that Israel has imposed on the OPT. There is simply no place left for a Palestinian state that would be truly sovereign, economically viable, and territorially congruent. The Palestinians cannot be blamed for the demise of the two-state solution; it is the Israeli government that eliminated the possibility. To the degree that Israeli rule over the entire Land of Israel has been made a permanent reality, we are witnessing the establishment of a new apartheid regime. Israel has separated the Jewish from Palestinian populations (“apartheid” literally means separation in Afrikaans), and has then imposed a regime by which the Jewish population institutionally and physically dominates the Palestinians.

Do Israelis support the work of ICAHD?

The Israeli public has disconnected from the issue of the Occupation and peace with the Palestinians. As life becomes ever quieter and more normalized Israelis feel less and less a need to change the status quo, especially if it means removing settlements. And as peace with the Palestinians disappears from the public discussion, so does the ability of the peace movement to engage the Israeli public, the media or decision-makers. ICAHD’s message is not necessarily rejected by Israelis, but is completely outside the public debate. That is why we devote most of our advocacy to civil society abroad.
What aspects of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza are most likely to be denied or ignored by the average Israeli?
All of it. It’s hard to convey, but Israeli Jews just don’t care about the Occupation. They don’t see it, it does not affect their lives, they live in relative prosperity and security, the “Arabs” (the term Palestinians is not even used) are “over there” somewhere – in short, the Occupation (another term we don’t use in Israel, preferring just to refer to “the Territories”) is a non-issue.