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An analysis of the Israel-Palestine through the lens of International Law

Considering the current scenario, it has been witnessed that Israel and Hamas are going through another destructive war, which broke out following the launching of around 2,500-5,000 rockets (as per claims of both sides) upon Israel through the territory of Gaza. As per reports, this rocket attack has claimed the lives of more than 1,400 people and 200 people as hostages. In response to this attack, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike. However, this situation led to thousands of deaths with many people being cramped and impoverished in dire need of aid. This offensive is showing signs of an escalation of the crisis much further, drawing reactions from Israel’s neighbours into the war. But this incident was one of the worst massacres that has been incurred upon the Jewish people since the Holocaust in World War 2.

So, in this blog, we will look into analyzing this Geopolitical Conflict from the standpoint of International Law.

The origin and base of the Conflict

The Israeli-Palestine Conflict is a longstanding dilemma that has been confounded in the world for over a half-century. This conflict mainly revolves around competing claims to territory, revolving around a web of intricate political and humanitarian complexities.

In 1947 Britain referred the question of Palestine to the United Nations. The UN proposed Resolution 181 which divided Palestine into two states, one being a Jewish-populated and the other by the Arab people. The Resolution 181 brought Jerusalem into the observation of an international administration, this plan was accepted by the Jewish People, whereas it was opposed by the Arab People. In the following year 1948, Israel declared its independence, which led to the First Arab-Israeli War. All the Arab countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria led an attack upon Israel, which ended in 1949 with armistice agreements. Israel expanded its reach beyond the UN Partition Plan and rendered around 700,000 Palestinians as refugees on their land.

Thus, from the angle of International Law, this conflict presents a fascinating and challenging landscape. Through this exploration, we will look into the multifaceted dimensions of the conflict, from the foundational concept of occupation and historical developments to the international legal positions and the implications for Palestinian Statehood.

The Occupation and Relevance of International Law

A pivotal element in the Israel-Palestine Conflict is the notion of occupation and the relevance of international law seeking to navigate this difficult issue. The International Humanitarian Law, particularly the 1949 Geneva Conventions stands at the cornerstone of governing the relationship between the occupied population and the occupying power.

Thus, as per International Law and these Conventions, the term entails effective control over a territory without violating the sovereignty. But still, this region’s enduring conflict realizes levels of intricate questions about the applicability of International Law and its relative norms.

The angle of International Law- The International Humanitarian Law offers a framework for universally accepting all the norms and rules of the Armed Conflict. The 1949 Geneva Conventions ratified by all member states of the United Nations have complemented the decisions from international war crimes tribunals.

The International Criminal Court (ICC)’s Stand on this issue- The ICC International Criminal Court is often described as the world’s permanent war crimes tribunal to play a pivotal role in the Isreal-Palestinian Conflict.

Rising allegations of War Crimes- Various actions have been taken between Israel and Palestine that have raised allegations of war crimes. The deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate rocket attacks, and taking civilians as hostages have all been pointed out as possible war crimes, which are explicitly banned under the Geneva Conventions.

Developments taking place in terms of the Conflict

To appreciate the legal complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, one needs to consider the historical backdrop of the conflict. Over the years, this dispute took the shape of a series of peace proposals, unilateral withdrawals, and periods of escalation of violence.

Some of the key events that have left an indelible mark on the Legal dynamics associated with the conflict can be understood as

The Oslo Accords- In 1993, the Oslo Accords were heralded as a potential pathway towards peace. These agreements have also been designed to create a framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Through these Accords, Palestinians gained greater autonomy, especially in Gaza and Jericho. These peace objectives have also outlined that the significant roadblocks, including disputes over issues of the claim about Jerusalem and the withdrawal of Israeli Troops.

The arising legal perspectives related to the conflict- Israel’s Supreme Court has played a pivotal role in shaping the legal discourse surrounding the occupation, where the Supreme Court has acknowledged several provisions of international law, binding upon all states. The court has also discussed the proportionality test as a general standard in international law about belligerent occupation.

The international legal positions

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been marked by contrasts of international positions regarding their jurisdiction. However, a fundamental disagreement remains in response to the authority of the International Criminal Court. This divergence also adds a layer of complexity to the legal proceedings

Disputes arising out of these conflicts involving the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court- Israel has rejected the jurisdictional standpoint of the International Criminal Court in this conflict, whereas the ICC recognises Palestine as a member state. Thus, the non-universal recognition of the Statehood of Palestine also introduces a legal and diplomatic challenge to the ongoing legal proceedings.

Ongoing Diplomatic Blockades and Humanitarian concerns- The imposition of tightened blockades and restrictions upon Gaza mostly raises a question on the legality coming under the gambit of international law. This aspect becomes sensitive at the time of assessing their impact on the civilian population, as such actions get to be considered war crimes if they disproportionately affect the non-combatants.

The question of Palestinian Statehood

The question of Palestinian statehood stands integral to the legal and political dynamics of this conflict, where a noteworthy development was observed following the General Assembly’s decision in 2009 to grant the legal status of an “observer state” to the Palestinian Territories. Although this instance falls short of granting full statehood recognition, whic carries a profound legal implication.

The possible implication of granting ‘Observer State’ status- The UN General Assembly’s decision of 2009 that bestows the ‘Observer State’ Status to the Palestinian Territories has far-reaching consequences. This status also looks towards empowering the Palestinians by granting them possible access to the international forums and courts along sides of cementing their right to self-defense in the face of external aggression.

The Israeli-Palestine Conflict is a labyrinthine issue that transcends across all borders, cultures, and legal frameworks. In that case, International Law has been quite instrumental in addressing and interpreting various aspects of the conflicts, starting from dealing with the intricacies of occupation to historical developments to statehood recognition. As the road to a comprehensive resolution remains fraught with challenges, international law continues to serve a critical compassion in terms of navigating this complex dispute. But as we weep into the future, the promise of peace remains elusive, and the beacon of international law continues to guide the way gradually.

Sources Referred


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