IRRC No. 885

The law of belligerent occupation in the Supreme Court of Israel

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Since the 1967 War, in the course of which Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, the Supreme Court of Israel has considered thousands of petitions relating to acts of the military and other authorities in those territories (OT). This article reviews the contribution to the law of belligerent occupation of the Court's jurisprudence in these cases. After discussing issues of jurisdiction and the applicable norms, the article reviews the way in which the Court has interpreted military needs, the welfare of the local population, changes in the local law, and use of resources; the attitude of the Court to the long-term nature of the occupation and the existence of Israeli settlements, settlers, and commuters in the OT; the introduction of a three-pronged test of proportionality in assessing military necessity; and hostilities in occupied territories. In the final section, I draw some general conclusions on the Court's contribution to the law of occupation. Keywords: law of belligerent occupation, Supreme Court of Israel, occupied territories, applicable law, military needs, public welfare, Israeli settlements, proportionality, military necessity, public order and safety.

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