Occupied Palestinian Territory

Serious violations of international law have been consistently documented across Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967. LAW works closely with Palestinian, Israeli and international organisations to develop and strengthen collaborative efforts to secure human rights in occupied Palestine, including in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Overview

Since 2013, LAW has worked closely with Palestinian, Israeli and international organisations to develop and strengthen collaborative efforts to secure human rights in occupied Palestine, including in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Serious and ongoing violations of international human rights law, humanitarian law and international criminal have characterised the occupation of Palestine since 1967 and remain a considerable obstacle to durable peace and security. Forcible transfer and displacement, arbitrary detention, the construction of settlements of occupied land, as well as, murder, torture and gender-based crimes have been documented by multiple UN-mandate holders and international organisations. The institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination of Palestinians has been framed as the crime of apartheid.

On 7 October 2023, intense fighting in and around Gaza has refocused international attention on the context. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October. About 70% of those killed are reported to be women and children. UNWRA stated that as of 19 March 2024, 1.7 million people (over 75% of the population) have been displaced across the Gaza Strip. Multiple actors, including UNICEF and OCHA have underscored the risk of famine in Gaza. The situation in the West Bank is also deteriorating; OCHA reports that between 7 October 2023–19 March 2024, 422 Palestinians, including 106 children, were killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Multiple legal initiatives have been undertaken to address human rights violations and international crimes perpetrated in the context of Palestine. These now include multiple cases before the International Court of Justice on the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Other initiatives include efforts in national courts to prevent the sale of further arms to Israel.

LAW's work

A core component of LAW’s work is facilitating and enhancing collaboration and coordination between Israeli, Palestinian and international organisations and lawyers seeking justice for human rights violations and abuses in occupied Palestine. Each year, LAW chairs a closed-door roundtable of legal experts focused on human rights initiatives, challenges and opportunities. Participants have described the discussions as “inspiring, illuminating and purposeful.”

Since October 2023, LAW has identified and collated key legal developments and analysis. These documents are publicly available on LAW’s website. In 2024, LAW will begin a vital new initiative working with local partners to better understand the gendered impacts of ongoing armed conflict and the occupation of Palestine.

Past work

In 2013, LAW and its partners lodged a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee against Canada on behalf of the residents of Bil’in village, Palestine. The complaint argues that Canada has violated its extraterritorial obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966) based on its failure to regulate Canadian companies supporting the forced displacement of the village residents. Though the complaint was ultimately unsuccessful, the Human Rights Committee affirmed that failure to effectively prevent corporate actors from facilitating serious human rights abuses, may amount to a violation of treaty obligations and accepted the extra-territorial application of the ICCPR.

Since 2013, LAW has also delivered high level technical assistance to key actors on the ground in occupied Palestine, including human rights organisations and humanitarian actors. Assistance has ranged from targeted input in development of case files in human rights cases, to advice on the provision of legal assistance where this may contravene humanitarian principles.

Selection of articles on the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Below a selection of articles analysing the application of the rules of international law and international humanitarian law in the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Legal Analyses
April 2024
March 2024

February 2024

January 2024
November 2023:
October 2023:
Press

January 2024

November 2023

October 2023:

Gender Analyses and Feminist-Thinking around the Israel-Gaza Armed Conflict

October 2023:

Recommended readings

October 2023:

June 2023:

Statements

November 2023:

October 2023:

Humanitarian Press

April 2024:

November 2023:

October 2023

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