Israeli settlements are illegal, what’s next?

“Settling” constitutes a warcime according to international law and ICC statute. Even under US’ own military legislations’
Law resources below this article


Al Ray Agencies | Aug 14, 2013

By Motasem A Dalloul

Memo – As the Israeli government announced the building of some 1200 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and Israeli housing minister, Uri Ariel, laid down the cornerstone of a new Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, Palestinian negotiators are wondering what to do next.

The US has been sponsoring gruelling efforts to revive the peace talks between Palestinian negotiators and Israel, which have stalled during the last three years. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has visited the region at least six times within a matter of weeks exerting huge efforts to do so.

The Palestinian negotiators have been insisting on preconditions, such as the releasing of Palestinian prisoners, who have been behind bars, prior to the Oslo Agreement, and the freezing of Israeli settlements. Kerry has convinced Israel to fulfil these two pre-conditions.

Although, Israel agreed to release a number of Palestinian prisoners as the Palestinian negotiators were not included in the committee that chose the would-be free prisoners, an Israeli committee chose 26 prisoners. They did not include prominent Palestinian leaders or those with prison terms due to end within months or a few years. In addition, all released prisoners will pledge not to be involved in any activities against Israel.

A Palestinian Authority official spoke anonymously to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper and described how Israel ‘plays’ with the terms of the deal, based on “numbers not names.” However, the Palestinian Authority insists that it has achieved an important deal.

The other longstanding pre-condition was completely ignored after leaked information revealed that there was an “unannounced” lifting on the freeze of construction of new settlements. Palestinian negotiators had agreed to go for the first meeting with the Israeli side to break the ice, on this condition.

It seems that the Israelis held their breath for one week until the meeting had been successfully conducted and before resuming the construction bids of new settlements on a larger scale. It even set up a new settlement in occupied Jerusalem. Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat told Aljazeera, that the “US told us that Israeli settlement was illegitimate” suggesting that Eerkat had believed Israel would not resume settlement construction. He went on to tell Reuters and other media outlets that he was “optimistic about the talks.”

The Palestinian negotiators said that the new settlements could negatively affect the peace talks’ efforts. John Kerry insisted that there was no time to waste and urged Erekat to stop talking and attend the negotiations, due to take place tomorrow.

Whilst in Colombia, Kerry said, “It (the settlement announcement) underscores the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly.” The question now is, what’s next? Erekat is attending the second round of peace talks with Livni, no gains will be made, and Israel will have more time.

The US and Israel know that if the Palestinians start negotiation talks, it becomes very difficult for them to stop even if they do not make a single advancement. They know that Palestinian Authority regards any movement towards the peace process as a big victory, while in fact it is actually an immense defeat. They also know that the PA is going alone to the peace talks, without the support of any Palestinian partners. Therefore, a decision to suspend or stop the peace talks will not be easy because it will highlight just how little support they actually have.


“States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.”


State practice establishes this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in international armed conflicts.
International armed conflicts

The prohibition on deporting or transferring parts of a State’s own civilian population into the territory it occupies is set forth in the Fourth Geneva Convention.[1]

It is a grave breach of Additional Protocol I.[2]

Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.[3]

Many military manuals prohibit the deportation or transfer by a party to the conflict of parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.[4]

This rule is included in the legislation of numerous States.[5]

Official statements and reported practice also support the prohibition on transferring one’s own civilian population into occupied territory.[6]

Attempts to alter the demographic composition of an occupied territory have been condemned by the UN Security Council.[7]

In 1992, it called for the cessation of attempts to change the ethnic composition of the population, anywhere in the former Yugoslavia.[8]

Similarly, the UN General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Rights have condemned settlement practices.[9]

According to the final report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements, “the implantation of settlers” is unlawful and engages State responsibility and the criminal responsibility of individuals.[10]

In 1981, the 24th International Conference of the Red Cross reaffirmed that “settlements in occupied territory are incompatible with article 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.[11]

In the Case of the Major War Criminals in 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg found two of the accused guilty of attempting the “Germanization” of occupied territories.[12]


[1] Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, sixth paragraph (cited in Vol. II, Ch. 38, § 334).

[2] Additional Protocol I, Article 85(4)(a) (adopted by consensus) (ibid., § 335).

[3] ICC Statute, Article 8(2)(b)(viii) (ibid., § 336).

[4] See, e.g., the military manuals of Argentina (ibid., §§ 346–347), Australia (ibid., § 348), Canada (ibid., § 349), Croatia (ibid., § 350), Hungary (ibid., § 351), Italy (ibid., § 352), Netherlands (ibid., § 353), New Zealand (ibid., § 354), Spain (ibid., § 355), Sweden (ibid., § 357), Switzerland (ibid., § 357), United Kingdom (ibid., § 358) and United States (ibid., § 359).

[5] See, e.g., the legislation of Armenia (ibid., § 361), Australia (ibid., §§ 362–363), Azerbaijan (ibid., §§ 364–365), Bangladesh (ibid., § 366), Belarus (ibid., § 367), Belgium (ibid., § 368), Bosnia and Herzegovina (ibid., § 369), Canada (ibid., §§ 371–372), Congo (ibid., § 373), Cook Islands (ibid., § 374), Croatia (ibid., § 375), Cyprus (ibid., § 376), Czech Republic (ibid., § 377), Germany (ibid., § 379), Georgia (ibid., § 380), Ireland (ibid., § 381), Mali (ibid., § 384), Republic of Moldova (ibid., § 385), Netherlands (ibid., § 386), New Zealand (ibid., §§ 387–388), Niger (ibid., § 390), Norway (ibid., § 391), Slovakia (ibid., § 392), Slovenia (ibid., § 393), Spain (ibid., § 394), Tajikistan (ibid., § 395), United Kingdom (ibid., §§ 397–398), Yugoslavia (ibid., § 399) and Zimbabwe (ibid., § 400); see also the draft legislation of Argentina (ibid., § 360), Burundi (ibid., § 370), Jordan (ibid., § 382), Lebanon (ibid., § 383) and Trinidad and Tobago (ibid., § 396).

[6] See, e.g., the statements of Kuwait (ibid., § 405) and United States (ibid., §§ 406–407) and the reported practice of Egypt (ibid., § 402) and France (ibid., § 403).

[7] See, e.g., UN Security Council, Res. 446 , 452 and 476 (ibid., § 408), Res. 465 (ibid., § 409) and Res. 677 (ibid., § 410).

[8] UN Security Council, Res. 752 (ibid., § 411).

[9] See, e.g., UN General Assembly, Res. 36/147 C, 37/88 C, 38/79 D, 39/95 D and 40/161 D (ibid., § 412) and Res. 54/78 (ibid., § 405); UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2001/7 (ibid., § 413).

[10] UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Final report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements (ibid., § 415).

[11] 24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Res. III (ibid., § 419).

[12] International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Case of the Major War Criminals, Judgement (ibid., § 421).

Still live in fairy-tale-land about Israel? Time to wake up: The Map of the “Greater Israel” even is hammered on the currency:All facts at Storify continuously updated. Read what Israeli ‘leaders’ have said and done even before (peace) talks and how their actions contradict the reality and ugly facts which they try to hide from you:

You can forget all details. Save yourself time. It is only about Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Israel. Not looking for Peace. Nor Talks. But this…

The facts. Mainly Israeli sources. Continuously updated

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: