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International | International treaties adherence
 

Israel has ratified the main human rights conventions; however, it is not a party to any additional protocols except the Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflicts. It has also not accepted the jurisdiction of any of the treaty body committees; thus, individual communications cannot be considered. In addition, Israel made important reservations on the conventions it ratified.

Israel is a party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, but not to the first and second 1977 Additional Protocols. Although Israel has signed the 1998 Rome Statute on 28 August 2002, the Secretary-General received from the Government of Israel, the following communication: "...in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on 17 July 1998, [...] Israel does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, Israel has no legal obligations arising from its signature on 31 December 2000. Israel requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositary's status lists relating to this treaty."

Israel has domestically declared State of Emergency since 1948. A notifications under Article 4(3) of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Derogations), was made on 3 October 1991, after the ratification of the Convention.

"Since its establishment, the state of Israel has been the victim of continuous threats and attacks on its very existence as well as on the life and property of its citizens. These have taken the form of threats of war, of actual armed attacks, and campaigns of terrorism resulting in the murder of and injury to human beings. In view of the above, the State of Emergency which was proclaimed in May 1948 has remained in force ever since. This situation constitutes a public emergency within the meaning of article 4 (1) of the Covenant. The Government of Israel has therefore found it necessary, in accordance with the said article 4, to take measures to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, for the defence of the state and for the protection of life and property, including the exercise of powers of arrest and detention. In so far as any of these measures are inconsistent with article 9 of the Covenant, Israel thereby derogates from its obligations under that provision."

   
 
 Treaty List
 
International Humanitarian Law Adherence dateCommentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)
Geneva Conventions I, II, III, IV 1949
06.07.51

"In accordance with instructions received from my Government, I shall sign the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War without any reservation. But in the case of each of the other three Conventions, our signature will be given with reservations the purport of which is as follows:

(1) Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.

"Subject to the reservation that, while respecting the inviolability of the distinctive signs and emblems of the Convention, Israel will use the Red Shield of David as the emblem and distinctive sign of the medical services of her armed forces."

(2) Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea.

"Subject to the reservation that, while respecting the inviolability of the distinctive signs and emblems of the Convention, Israel will use the Red Shield of David on the flags, armlets and on all equipment (including hospital ships), employed in the medical service."

(3) Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

"Subject to the reservation that, while respecting the inviolability of the distinctive signs and emblems provided for in Article 38 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, Israel will use the Red Shield of David as the emblem and distinctive sign provided for in this Convention."

*****
Declaration relating to the declaration made upon accession by Democratic Yemen:

"The Government of Israel takes note that by declarations dated 10 February 1977, and received by the Swiss Government on 25 May 1977, the Popular Democratic Republic of Yemen adhered to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relating to the protection of war victims.

"The said instruments were accompanied by a declaration of a political character in respect to Israel. In the view of the Government of Israel, this is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements, which are, moreover, in flagrant contradiction to the principles, objects and purposes of the said Conventions. The said declaration cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon the Popular Democratic Republic of Yemen under general international law or under particular treaties."

Additional Protocol I 1977 -- 
Additional Protocol II 1977 -- 
Additional Protocol III 2005 22.11.07

The Government of Israel declares that while respecting the inviolability of the additional distinctive emblem provided for in the "Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III)," it is understanding of the Government of Israel that the ratification or the implementation of this protocol does not affect any rights acquired pursuant to reservations made by Israel to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

Hague Conv. 195403.10.57 
Hague Prot.. 195401.04.58 
Hague Prot.. 1999 -- 
ENMOD Conv. 1976 -- 
International Human rights Law Adherence dateCommentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)
ICERD 196503.01.79

"The State of Israel does not consider itself bound by the provisions of article 22 of the said Convention."

In a communication received by the Secretary-General on 10 July 1969, the Government of Israel declared:

"[The Government of Israel] has noted the political character of the declaration made by the Government of Iraq on signing the above Convention. In the view of the Government of Israel, the Convention is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements. The Government of Israel will, in so far as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of Iraq an attitude of complete reciprocity. Moreover, it is the view of the Government of Israel that no legal relevance can be attached to those Iraqi statements which purport to represent the views of the other States. Except for the omission of the last sentence, identical communications in essence, mutatis mutandis, were received by the Secretary-General from the Government of Israel as follows: on 29 December 1966 in respect of the declaration made by the Government of the United Arab Republic upon signature (see also note 17); on 16 August 1968 in respect of the declaration made by the Government of Libya upon accession; on 12 December 1968 in respect of the declaration made by the Government of Kuwait upon accession; on 9 July 1969 in respect of the declaration made by the Government of Syria upon accession; on 21 April 1970 made in respect of the declaration made by Government of Iraq upon ratification with the following statement: "With regard to the political declaration in the guise of a reservation made on the occasion of the ratification of the above Treaty, the Government of Israel wishes to refer to its objection circulated by the Secretary-General in his letter [...] and to maintain that objection."; on 12 February 1973 in respect of the declaration made by the Government of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen upon accession; on 25 September 1974 in respect of the declaration made by the United Arab Emirates upon accession and on 25 June 1990 in respect of the reservation made by Bahrain upon accession.

ICCPR 196603.10.91

Reservation: "With reference to Article 23 of the Covenant, and any other provision thereof to which the present reservation may be relevant, matters of personal status are governed in Israel by the religious law of the parties concerned. To the extent that such law is inconsistent with its obligations under the Covenant, Israel reserves the right to apply that law."

ICCPR - OP1 1966 -- 
ICCPR - OP2 1989 -- 
ICESCR 196603.10.91

In two communications received by the Secretary-General on 10 July 1969 and 23 March 1971 respectively, the Government of Israel declared that it "has noted the political character of the declaration made by the Government of Iraq on signing and ratifying the above Covenants. In the view of the Government of Israel, these two Covenants are not the proper place for making such political pronouncements. The Government of Israel will, in so far as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of Iraq an attitude of complete reciprocity.

Identical communications, mutatis mutandis, were received by the Secretary-General from the Government of Israel on 9 July 1969 in respect of the declaration made upon accession by the Government of Syria, and on 29 June 1970 in respect of the declaration made upon accession by the Government of Libya. In the latter communication, the Government of Israel moreover stated that the declaration concerned "cannot in any way affect the obligations of the Libyan Arab Republic already existing under general international law."

CEDAW 197903.10.91

Reservations:

"1. The State of Israel hereby expresses its reservation with regard to article 7(b) of the Convention concerning the appointment of women to serve as judges of religious courts where this is prohibited by the laws of any of the religious communities in Israel. Otherwise, the said article is fully implemented in Israel, in view of the fact that women take a prominent part in all aspect of public life.

"2. The State of Israel hereby expresses its reservation with regard to article 16 of the Convention, to the extent that the laws on personal status which are binding on the various religious communities in Israel do not conform with the provisions of that article."

Declaration: "3. In accordance with paragraph 2 of article 29 of the Convention, the State of Israel hereby declares that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of that article."

OP-CEDAW 1999 -- 
CAT 198403.10.91

Reservations:

"1. In accordance with article 28 of the Convention, the State of Israel hereby declares that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in article 20.

"2. In accordance with paragraph 2 of article 30, the State of Israel hereby declares that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of that article."

OP-CAT 2002 -- 
CRC 199003.10.91 
CRC Optional Protocol Armed Conflict 200018.07.05

Declarations:

"The Government of the state of Israel declares pursuant to article 3 (2) of the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that: (a) The minimum age in which the State of Israel permits voluntary recruitment into its armed forces is 17 years of age, according to article 14 of the defense service law (consolidated version) 5746-1986; (b) The Government of the State of Israel maintains the following safeguards in respect of voluntary recruitment into the armed forces so as to ensure that such recruitment is not forced or coerced:

1. In accordance with section 14 of the defense service law (consolidated version) 5746-1986, no person under 18 years of age may enlist in the Israeli armed forces without a written application submitted by the person and the written consent of the person's parents or legal guardian; however, should there be an appreciable difficulty in contacting one of the parents, the written consent of the other parent is sufficient;

2. Clear and precise explanation of the nature of the duties involved in military service is provided to both the person and the person's parents or legal guardian;

3. Prior to acceptance of any person into the Israeli armed forces a reliable proof of age is obtained through the Ministry of the Interior's official national population registry.

4. The IDF has several long-term programs in which participants may engage in academic or rabbinic studies or perform volunteer work, prior to the commencement of their actual military service. Enrollment in these programs is open to participants from the age of 17.5. For administrative purposes, these participants undergo a one-day administrative induction into the armed forces. Following their administrative induction, these participants are released from active service and enroll in their chosen program.

5. Persons under 18 years of age, who enlist in one of the aforementioned ways, may in no case be posted to combat duty."

CRC Optional Protocol Sale of Children 2000 23.07.08

 

ICRMW 1990 -- 
Disability Rights Convention  -- 
Convention on Enforced Disappearances  -- 
Weapons Adherence dateCommentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)
Geneva Gas Protocol 192520.02.69

Reservation made on accession:

The said protocol is only binding on Israel as regards the States which have signed and ratified it or which may accede to it.
The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the State of Israel in regard to any enemy state whose armed forces or the armed forces of its allies or the regular or irregular forces or the groups or individuals operating from its territory fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol.

Israel addressed the following note to the depositary on 25 January 1972, concerning the reservations of Kuwait and the Libyan Arab Republic: the Government of Israel has taken note of the political nature of the declaration made in the first sentence of the reservations formulated by the state of Kuwait and the Libyan Arab Republic. The Government of Israel feels that this Protocol cannot be used as a vehicle for political declarations of this nature. To the extent that the above-mentioned reservations are intended to rule out the Protocol's applicability to a conflict with the state of Israel, Article 19 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties applies as it stipulates that reservations are unacceptable if they are incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty in connection with which they are formulated. The above-mentioned declarations therefore in no way affect the obligations by which the State of Kuwait and the Libyan Arab Republic are already bound under general international law. As regards the substance of the Protocol's provisions, the Government of Israel will be guided vis-à-vis the State of Kuwait and the Libyan Arab Republic by the principles enunciated in the reservation which accompanied the State of Israel's instrument of accession, done on 22 January 1969 in Jerusalem and deposited with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France on 20 February 1969.

Biological Weapons Convention 1972 -- 
Chemical Weapons Convention 1993 --

Signature only on 13.01.93.

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons 198022.03.95

Declarations:

"(a) With reference to the scope of application defined in article 1 of the Convention, the Government of the State of Israel will apply the provisions of the Convention and those annexed Protocols to which Israel has agreed become bound to all armed conflicts involving regular armed forces of States referred to in article 2 common to the General Conventions of 12 August 1949, as well as to all armed conflicts referred to in article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

(b) Article 7, paragraph 4 of the Convention will have no effect.

(c) The application of this Convention will have no effect on the legal status of the parties to a conflict.

Understandings:

(a) It is the understanding of the Government of the Ssate of Israel that the compliance of commanders and others responsible for planning, deciding upon, or executing attacks to which the Convention and its Protocols apply, cannot be judged on the basis of information which subsequently comes to light, but must be assessed on the basis of the information available to them at the time that such actions were taken.

(b) With respect to Protocol I, it is the understanding of the Government of Israel that the use of plastics or similar materials for detonators or other weapon parts not designed to cause injury is not prohibited.

(c) With respect to Protocol I, it is the understanding of the Government of Israel that:

(i) Any obligation to record the location of remotely delivered mines pursuant to sub-paragraph 1 (a) of article 5 refers to the location of mine fields and not to the location of individual remotely delivered mines;

(ii) The term pre-planned, as used in sub-paragraph 1 (a) of article 7 means that the position of the minefield in question should have been determined in advance so that an accurate record of the location of the minefield, when laid, can be made."

CCW Protocol I 198022.03.95 
CCW Prot. II 198022.03.95 
CCW Prot. III 1980 -- 
CCW Prot. IV 199530.10.00

Declaration: With reference to the scope of application defined in Article 1 of the Convention, the Government of the state of Israel will apply the provisions of the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons as well as the Convention and those annexed Protocols to which Israel has agreed to become bound, to all armed conflicts involving regular armed forces of States referred to in article 2 common to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949, as well as to all armed conflicts referred to in Article 3 common to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949."

CCW Protocol II (amended) 199630.10.00

Declaration:

"Article 1: The declaration made by Israel upon accession to the [Convention], shall be equally applicable regarding the Amended Protocol II.

Article 2 (3): Israel understands that the word 'primarily' is included in article 2, paragraph 3 of the Amended Protocol II, to clarify that mines designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of vehicles as opposed to persons, that are equipped with anti-handling devices are not considered Anti-personnel mines as a result of being so equipped.

Article 3 (9): Israel understands, regarding article 3, paragraph 9, that an area of land can itself be a legitimate military objective for the purpose of the use of landmines, if its neutralization or denial of its use, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.

Article 4: It is the understanding of the State of Israel, regarding article 4 of the Amended Protocol II and the Technical Annex, that article 4 of the Amended Protocol II shall not apply to mines already emplaced. However, provisions of the Amended Protocol II, such as those regarding marking, monitoring and protection of areas containing mines under the control of a high contracting party, shall apply to all areas containing mines, regardless of when the mines were emplaced.

Article 5 (2) (b): Israel understands that article 5 paragraph 2 (b) does not apply to the transfer of areas pursuant to peace treaties, agreements on the cessation of hostilities, or as part of a peace process or steps leading thereto.

Article 7 (f) (1): Israel reserves the right to use other devices (as defined in Article 2 (5) of the Amended Protocol II) to destroy any stock of food or drink that is judged likely to be used by an enemy military force, if due precautions are taken for the safety of the civilian population.

Article 11 (7):

(a) Israel understands that the provision on technical assitance mentioned on article 11 paragraph 7, will be without prejudice to a High contracting Party's constitutional and other legal provisions.

(b) No provision of the Amended Protocol II may be construed as affecting the discretion of the State of Israel to refuse assisstance or to restrict or deny permission for the export equipment, material or scientific or technological information for any reason.

Article 14:

a) It is the understanding of the Government of the state of Israel that the compliance of commanders and others responsible for planning, deciding upon, or executing military actions to which the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Protocols apply, cannot be judged on the basis of information which subsequently but comes to light, but must be assessed on the basis of the information available to them at the time that such actions were taken.

b) Article 14 of the Amended Protocol II (insofar as it relates to penal sanctions) shall apply only in a situation in which an individual

1) knew, or should have known, that his action was prohibited under the Amended Protocol II,

2) intended to kill or cause serious injury to a civilian; and

3) knew or should have known, that the person he intended to kill or cause serious injury to was a civilian.

c) Israel understands that the provisions of article 14 of the amended Protocol II relating to penal sanctions refer to measures by authorities of States Parties to the Protocol and do not authorize the trial of any person before an international criminal tribunal. Israel shall not recognize the jurisdiction of any international tribunal to prosecute an Israel citizen for violation of the Protocol or the Convention on Covnentional Weapons.

General: Israel understands that nothing in the Amended Protocol II may be construed as restriction or affecting in any way non-lethal weapon technology that is designed to temporarily disable, stun, signal the presence of a person, or operate in any other fashion, but not to cause permanent incapacity."

CCW Amendment 2001 -- 
CCW Prot. V 2003 -- 
Ottawa Treaty 1997 -- 
 --

 


Refugees

Adherence date

Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)

Refugee Conv. 1951

01.10.54

"[S]ubject to the following statements and reservations:

...

2. Articles 8 and 12 shall not apply to Israel.

3. Article 28 shall apply to Israel with the limitations which result from Section 6 of the Passport Law of 5712-1952, according to which the Minister may, at his discretion:

(a) Refuse to grant, or to extend the validity of a passport or laissez-passer;

(b) Attach conditions to the grant or the extension of the validity of a passport or laissez-passer;

(c) Cancel, or shorten the period of validity of a passport or laissez-passer issued, and order the surrender thereof;

(d) Limit, either at or after the issue of a passport or laissez-passer, the range of countries for which it is to be valid.

4. Permits provided for by Article 30 shall be issued by the Minister of Finance at his discretion."

Refugee Prot.1967 14.06.68"The Government of Israel accedes to the Protocol subject to the same statements and reservations made at the time of ratifying the Convention [relating to the Status of Refugees, done at Geneva on 28 July 1951], in accordance with the provisions of article VII (2) of the Protocol."
International criminal law Adherence dateCommentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)
Slavery Convention 192606.01.55 
Genocide Convention. 194809.03.50 
Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity 1968 -- 
ICC Rome Statute 1998 --

Signature only on 31.12.00.

Declaration upon signature: "Being an active consistent supporter of the concept of an International Criminal Court, and its realization in the form of the Rome Statute, the Government of the State of Israel is proud to thus express its acknowledgment of the importance, and indeed indispensability, of an effective court for the enforcement of the rule of law and the prevention of impunity.

As one of the originators of the concept of an International Criminal Court, Israel, through its prominent lawyers and statesmen, has, since the early 1950's, actively participated in all stages of the formation of such a court. Its representatives, carrying in both heart and mind collective, and sometimes personal, memories of the holocaust - the greatest and most heinous crime to have been committed in the history of mankind - enthusiastically, with a sense of acute sincerity and seriousness, contributed to all stages of the preparation of the Statute. Responsibly, possessing the same sense of mission, they currently support the work of the ICC Preparatory Commission.

At the 1998 Rome Conference, Israel expressed its deep disappointment and regret at the insertion into the Statute of formulations tailored to meet the political agenda of certain states. Israel warned that such an unfortunate practice might reflect on the intent to abuse the Statute as a political tool. Today, in the same spirit, the Government of the state of Israel signs the Statute while rejecting any attempt to interpret provisions thereof in a politically motivated manner against Israel and its citizens. The Government of Israel hopes that Israel's expressions of concern of any such attempt would be recorded in history as a warning against the risk of politicization, that might undermine the objectives of what is intended to become a central impartial body, benefiting mankind as a whole.

Nevertheless, as a democratic society, Israel has been conducting ongoing political, public and academic debates concerning the ICC and its significance in the context of international law and the international community. The Court's essentiality - as a vital means of ensuring that criminals who commit genuinely heinous crimes will be duly brought to justice, while other potential offenders of the fundamental principles of humanity and the dictates of public conscience will be properly deterred - has never seized to guide us. Israel's signature of the Rome Statute will, therefore, enable it to morally identify with this basic idea, underlying the establishment of the Court.

Today, [the Government of Israel is] honoured to express [its] sincere hopes that the Court, guided by the cardinal judicial principles of objectivity and universality, will indeed serve its noble and meritorious objectives."

On 28 August 2002, the Secretary-General received from the Government of Israel, the following communication: "...in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on 17 July 1998, [...] Israel does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, Israel has no legal obligations arising from its signature on 31 December 2000. Israel requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depositary's status lists relating to this treaty."

Terrorism Adherence dateCommentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)
Convention Against the Taking of Hostages 1979 --

Signature only on 19.11.80.

Upon signature:

"1. It is the understanding of Israel that the Convention implements the principle that hostage taking is prohibited in all circumstances and that any person committing such an act shall be either prosecuted or extradited pursuant to article 8 of this Convention or the relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 or their additional Protocols, without any exception whatsoever.

"2) The Government of Israel declares that it reserves the right, when depositing the instrument of ratification, to make reservations and additional declarations and understandings."

Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism 1999

10.02.03

Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 2 (a) of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the Government of the State of Israel declares that in the application of the Convention the treaties to which the state of Israel is not a party shall be deemed not to be included in the Annex of the Convention... Pursuant to Article 24, paragraph 2 of the Convention, the State of Israel does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 24, paragraph 1 of the Convention. The Government of the state of Israel understands that the term "international humanitarian law" referred to in Article 21 of the Convention has the same substantial meaning as the term "the law of war." This body of laws does not include the provisions of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention of 1977 to which the state of Israel is not a party."

Pursuant to Article 7, paragraph 3 of the Convention, the Government of the state of Israel hereby notifies the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it has established jurisdiction over the offences referred to in Article 2 in all the cases detailed in Article 7 paragraph 2.

Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings 199710.02.03

The Government of the state of Israel understands Article 1, paragraph 4, of the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, in the sense that the term "military forces of a state" includes police and security forces operating pursuant to the internal law of the State of Israel... The Government of the state of Israel understands that the term "international humanitarian law"referred to in Article 19, of the Convention has the same substantive meaning as the term "the laws of war"("jus in bello"). This body of laws does not include the provisions of the protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 to which the state of Israel is not a Party. The Government of the state of Israel understands that under Article 1 paragraph 4 and Article 19 the Convention does not apply to civilians who direct or organize the official activities of military forces of a state. Pursuant to Article 20, paragraph 2 of the Convention, the state of Israel does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 20, paragraph 1 of the Convention."

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