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Background information. There is a broad international consensus that the actions of the nations involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict violate prohibitions contained in international


There is a broad international consensus that the actions of the nations involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict violate prohibitions contained in international law. The conflict goes back to before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Israel occupied large swaths of Palestinian land, and the conflict today largely revolves around Israel and the Palestinians, following the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan.

Virtually all of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands violates human rights conventions – and especially the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbids an occupying power from making its presence a permanent one.


- Article 3 prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment," a routine element of Palestinian life under Israel's occupation.

- Article 32 forbids assassinations, and any brutalization of the civilian population, including their treatment at checkpoints and in "security searches."

- Article 33 prohibiting pillage would obtain to Israel's extensive use of West Bank and Gazan water resources, especially as they are denied the local population. It also prohibits the use of collective punishment, as represented by the imposition of closure, curfew, house demolitions and many other routine actions of the Occupation Authorities.

- Article 39 stipulates: "Protected persons [residents of occupied lands] who, as a result of the war, have lost their gainful employment, shall be granted the opportunity to find paid employment." It thereby prohibits the imposition a permanent "closure" on the Occupied Territories, such as Israel has done since 1993.

- Article 49 forbids deportations and any "forcible transfers," which would include such common practices as revoking Jerusalem IDs or banning Palestinians from returning from work, study or travel abroad. It also stipulates that "The Occupying Power shall not…transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies" - a clear ban on settlements.

- Article 53 reads: "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons…is prohibited." Under this provision the practice of demolishing Palestinian houses is banned, but so is the wholesale destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure (including its civil society institutions and records in Ramallah) destroyed in the reoccupation of March-April 2002.

- Article 64 forbids changes in the local legal system that, among other things, alienate the local population from its land and property, as Israel has done through massive land expropriations.

- Article 146 holds accountable individuals who have committed "grave breaches" of the Convention.

- According to Article 147, this includes many acts routinely practiced under the Occupation, such as willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury, unlawful deportation, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property. Israeli courts have thus far failed to charge or prosecute Israeli officials, military personnel or police who have committed such acts.


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