Does Israel conduct its military occupation of the West Bank in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention? (continued)
Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land and populated by Israeli “settlers” are illegal under international law.
Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank routinely violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. Among the most obvious violations:
Land theft. As shown in the Theological Questions section of this website, Israel has seized (stolen, with no legal right under international law) most of the land in the West Bank. See in particular the series of map images showing Israel’s seizure of land in the West Bank.
Settlements. All Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land and populated by Israeli “settlers” are absolutely illegal under international law. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is considered an “Occupying Power.” The convention states clearly: “An Occupying Power shall not transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
There are no exceptions or special conditions that make such transfers of population legal. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice, and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention have all agreed that Israeli settlements are illegal under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As early as 1978, at the request of the U.S. Congress, Legal Adviser of the Department of State Herbert J. Hansel issued an opinion that settlements in Palestine are “inconsistent with international law” and contrary to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. On November 5, 2008, BBC News stated that the British government and “every other government in the world, except for Israel” consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Additionally, in January 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded that “Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions (and) must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all Israeli settlers.”
Mistreatment of prisoners. B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, reports that, as of November 30, 2017, there were 5,881 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 425 administrative detainees. The administrative detainees are held without charges being filed and with no opportunity to contest their incarceration. Israeli military prisons are notorious for poor treatment of prisoners, as documented by the World Council of Churches publication Palestinian Prisoners: A Question of Conscience, 2014, edited by John Calhoun and Rajan Solomon.
Readers are encouraged to read the text of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The convention contains 149 articles that protect the rights of every Palestinian living in the West Bank and Gaza. These are universal rights that no nation is permitted to violate. Since 1967, however, when Israel conquered all of the West Bank and Gaza, imposed military law, and began building settlements, Israel has violated nearly every one of these universal rights recognized in the convention. Violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention are always a cause for grave concern. Such violations are classified as war crimes.