Our new publication The Armed Conflict in Israel-Palestine provides an update of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and highlights 2017’s most important developments.
Written by Montse Ferrer, the article starts by analysing the current situation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and discusses the timeframe and challenges related to the preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The article ends by highlighting key 2017 developments and parties to the conflict.
This publication will form part, along with other analysis of conflict situations, of the War Report 2017 which will be published in Spring 2018.
President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel happens in a context where efforts to expand settlements in Palestinian-owned land have continued, particularly in East Jerusalem, leading to an increase in evictions of Palestinian families. As explained in the article, the long-term impact of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, along with its legal and diplomatic consequences are not yet clear.
After 10 years of blockade of the Gaza strip by Israel and Egypt, whose effects have been catastrophic for the population, Fatah and Hamas signed on 11 October 2017 a reconciliation agreement in which Hamas agreed to transfer administrative control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA), including the Rafah border with Egypt. In return, the PA will lift its sanctions, easing Gaza’s economic blockade.
As this is not the first attempt at reunification, the article lists open questions and issues that remain unresolved by the agreement and have led to the failure of past reconciliation attempts.
In April 2014, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine to determine whether the criteria have been met to merit pursuing a formal investigation into crimes committed in and from Palestine, focusing on (1) settlement-related activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in particular as they are linked to the displacement of Palestinian residents; and (2) the 2014 Gaza conflict.
The article highlights that for the OPT to pursue a formal investigation, it will have to determine whether the situation in Palestine satisfies the Rome Statute’s admissibility requirements of complementarity and gravity – a determination of whether Israel is ‘unwilling or unable’ to investigate or punish the accused; and an assessment of the scale, nature, manner of commission of the alleged crimes and their impact.
The article also points that the OTP signaled that it will also have to decide two thorny jurisdictional issues: the legal regime applicable to the territory of the West Bank and the legal characterization of the Gaza conflict.
The parties to the conflict continue to be Israel and Palestine, with the two key political factions – Fatah and Hamas – along with multiple armed groups which can generally be categorized as being part of one of the following groups: Hamas affiliated, Fatah affiliated, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Salafist Groups.
Besides these parties, the article highlights that one group that is poised to keep growing, if not in numbers and support, certainly in publicity, is Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province (ISIL-SP). ‘While this group has been a strong critic of Hamas for several years, various reports highlight that ISIL-SP has been gaining popularity, at least with a certain part of the Palestinian society, especially in the Gaza Strip’ underlines the author of the article.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online portal provides a legal analysis of the military occupation of Palestine by Israel, notably the different forms of control exercised by Israel over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip; identifies the parties; and applicable international law.
We are pleased to announce that the American Society of International Law has awarded their 2017 Certificate of Merit for ‘High Technical Craftsmanship and Utility to Practicing Lawyers and Scholars’ to the book The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, edited by Professors Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, and Marco Sassòli.
Michael Sfard, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer, will give two lectures in the week of 26 February, one on his new book and the other one on the new trends and challenges related to the protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will present her new book ‘The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict’, which focuses on the multidimensionality of gender in conflict.
Michael Sfard, the most prominent Israeli human rights lawyer and author of the book ‘The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine and the Legal Battle for Human Rights’, will address the current situation of human rights defenders in Israel.
This course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
This course examines one of the main purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL), which is to mitigate human suffering caused by war. It enables a careful evaluation of the various IHL rules intended to help protect vulnerable persons, such as civilians and prisoners of war, as well as property during armed conflict.
As an annual publication, The War Report provides an overview of contemporary trends in current armed conflicts, including key international humanitarian law and policy issues that have arisen and require attention.
Medical Aid for Palestinians / Ezz Al Zanoon
This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.