From Discretion to Necessity: Third State Responsibility for Israel's Control of Stay and Entry into Palestinian Territory
Journal of Human Rights Practice, Vol 6, No 2 (2014) pp. 327-355
29 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2013 Last revised: 11 Mar 2018
Date Written: December 21, 2013
Since 1967, Israel has controlled freedom of movement, immigration, residency and nationality in the occupied Palestinian territory through the establishment and administration of the Palestinian population registry in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Over the years, the registry has been the basis for Israeli policies that have barred people from entering the territory or traveling within it, and trapped others inside, resulting in the separation of families, loss of employment and opportunities for obtaining an education abroad. Various non-governmental rights groups have documented Israel’s control of Palestinian residency status and entry into Palestinian territory through arbitrary and draconian criteria, resulting in the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the territory. Their advocacy strategies have however brought about little or no impact on Israel’s policy and practice.
An alternative advocacy paradigm, that seeks to operationalise third state responsibility with regards to Israel’s control of Palestinian residency and movement, has been identified by a Palestinian volunteer group, the ‘Right to Enter’ Campaign. By invoking the state practice of the United States and European countries on the protection of their nationals abroad, the group has in several cases compelled such third party states to inquire, contest and seek satisfaction for apparent Israeli violations of their nationals’ rights. This article discusses Israel’s violations of international human rights and humanitarian law resulting from its institutional practice on Palestinian residency and entry into Palestinian territory, and proposes an operational framework for invoking the rights and obligations of third party states to leverage Israel’s internationally unlawful conduct and demand its compliance with international law.
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