Israeli international law experts: the Supreme Court erred in permitting Israel to operate quarries in the occupied territories

Monday, January 30, 2012 | Yesh Din

In an unusual legal move, leading Israeli international law scholars: Prof. Yuval Shany, Prof. Eyal Benvenisti, Prof. Barak Medina,Prof. Orna Ben-Naftali, Prof. Guy Harpaz, Dr. Amichai Cohen and Dr. Yael Ronen, have filed an amicus curiae brief claiming that the High Court, in its ruling in the quarries’ petition, wrongly interpreted the laws of occupation and the provisions regarding the occupying power’s management of public property in the occupied territories, and that the Court’s ruling (HCJ 2164/09) stands in direct contradiction with the laws of occupation. The opinion was submitted on Sunday (January 29, 2012) to the High Court of Justice in support of human rights organization, Yesh Din’s, motion for an en banc review, an additional hearing in which all judges of the Court will hear the case, of the quarries’ petition. Attached is a summary of the opinion.

“The judgment is based on an erroneous interpretation of international law and directly contradicts the Supreme Court’s previous judgments,” said Dr. Guy Harpaz, one of the authors of the opinion. He added: “This erroneous interpretation has led a large number of scholars from different institutions and with differing views to take it upon themselves, without compensation, to address this issue in order to draw the Supreme Court’s attention to the numerous and significant errors of interpretation in the judgment in the hope that the court will reconsider its position and make the necessary corrections.”

At the core of this expert legal opinion is the claim that the appropriate interpretation of Articles 43 and 55 of the Hague Regulations differs from that which was presented in the judgment. The experts claim that the court gave an erroneous interpretation to the laws of belligerent occupation which contradicts the objective and spirit of the laws of occupation. Specifically, they claim that the judgment contradicts an earlier and deeply rooted rule in the Supreme Court’s case law (the Jam’iyat Iskan Rule), which has guided the Court concerning the laws of occupation for the last three decades.

The experts draw the Court’s attention to the fact that it is precisely the prolongation of the occupation of the West Bank (upon which the court based its justification for the granting of broad powers to the occupier in the occupied territory) which requires strict adherence to the principle that decisions by the military commander be made either on the basis of security considerations or in order to benefit the occupied population. Therefore, the experts’ opinion is that inasmuch as the prolongation of the occupation requires the adaptation of the “traditional laws of occupation” to a prolonged occupation, as the judgment says, that adjustment should be made in such a way that benefits the protected population rather than harms it. The prolongation of the occupation surely does not allow the citizens of the occupying state to profit at the expense of the occupied population

Source Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: