The Status of the West Bank and Gaza and the Settlements in International Law
Talia Einhorn, The Status of Judea & Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza and the Settlements in International Law (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 2014)
65 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 14, 2014
The status of the West Bank and Gaza in international law is highly controversial. The State of Israel’s official position is that since the Six-Day War they are “disputed territories” and not “occupied territories.” Although Israel did not actually annex these territories it nevertheless has a priority claim to sovereignty until such time as the dispute is peacefully resolved. In the interim period, which has lasted since 1967, and until a peace agreement is signed, there is nothing illegal in the establishment of Jewish settlements on that land.
On the other hand, there is an opposing position, whereby the Palestinian Arabs are entitled to an independent state in all of these territories, while Jewish settlement therein is forbidden under international law. Since Israel took over these territories, it has held them as occupied territories under belligerent occupation. The line delineated in the Armistice Agreements between Israel and Jordan, on the one hand, and between Israel and Egypt, on the other (the “Green Line”), is, to all intents and purposes, an international border.
This study analyzes these subjects under international law. The status of the West Bank and Gaza in international law is linked in fact and in law to the question of Israel’s sovereignty in the land of Israel, to the west of the River Jordan. The study discusses the establishment of the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people (Part 2); the question of sovereignty over the Land of Israel from the time of the British Mandate to the present day, taking account of the resolutions adopted by the League of Nations in the wake of World War I (“WWI”), as well as the international treaties concluded between Israel and neighboring countries, the resolutions adopted by UN institutions, the General Assembly and the Security Council, in light of the agreements between Israel and the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority’s status in the UN (Part 3); the status of the West Bank and Gaza in international law – the Israeli position, Security Council Resolutions, and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in the matter of the separation barrier (“the wall”) (Part 4); the settlements and the right of Israelis to settle in the West Bank and Gaza under international law – the laws of armed conflict and the question of their application, the interim agreements with the PLO, and comparative perspectives regarding the rules and practices developed in international law with respect to the rights of settlers in occupied territories since World War II (Part 5); the question of self-determination for the Palestinian people (Part 6); the State of Israel’s right to self-defense (Part 7); the limits set by the ordre public international to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel (Part 8); and conclusions (Part 9).
Keywords: International Law Israel Palestine West Bank Gaza
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation