Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations
Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations
The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War of 12 August 1949 and the Regulations Annexed to the 4th Hague Convention of 1907 apply to all cases of armed conflict and/or occupation. An international consensus exists among states, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that the Convention is fully applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. The U.N. Security Council confirmed the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory , including East Jerusalem , in 24 resolutions. Many of those resolutions call upon Israel , the occupying Power, to comply with the provisions of the Convention and to accept its de jure applicability. The General Assembly, along with other bodies of the U.N., has adopted scores of resolutions affirming the same position.
Many Security Council and other UN resolutions have dealt with specific Israeli grave breaches of the Convention and other acts contrary to its provisions, such as settlements, measures related to Jerusalem, deportations, indiscriminate shooting of civilians and collective punishment. The resolutions all condemn such illegal Israeli actions call for their cessation and for full Israeli compliance with the provisions of the Convention and the terms of those resolutions. In several of these resolutions, the Security Council called for measures to provide for the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population and requested the Secretary-General to fulfill certain tasks in this regard.
Israel , in turn, is a signatory to the 4th Geneva Convention and, as such, must respect the Convention under all circumstances. However, Israel is not complying with the provisions of the Convention; it argues that the 4th Geneva Convention is not applicable to the Occupied and it claims compliance with the humanitarian provisions of the Convention. Such a position is obviously illegal and condemnable. Moreover, Israel ’s position on the issue has been confusing and wrought with many inconsistencies. For instance, Israeli Military Order #3, issued on 7 June 1967 , states that the military court in the West Bank must apply the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention with respect to judicial procedures and gives the Convention precedence over military orders. Yet, this military order, along with another identical one related to Gaza , was subsequently deleted by other orders in the same year. Territory
The Israeli Supreme Court adopted an ambiguous position on this matter, refraining from dealing with claims based on the Convention on the grounds that treaty law does not become part of the law of the land until the Knesset passes legislation to that effect. However, in another case regarding the Ansar camp in southern
Lebanon , the Court in effect held that the 4th Geneva Convention is applicable. On the other hand, with regard to Hague Regulations, the Court found them applicable on the grounds that they reflect customary international law, which is deemed part of Israeli law, in the absence of a conflicting municipal law. Accordingly, the Court found that settlements could be justified as part of Israeli military need.
The international community has resolutely rejected these Israeli positions and the Security Council and other U.N. organizations have adopted, as mentioned above, numerous resolutions in this regard. In 1968, the General Assembly established the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, which, in spite of
Israel ’s refusal to cooperate, submits periodic reports to the General Assembly throughout each session. Also, in 1993, the Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteaur for the Occupied Territories and again Israel refused to cooperate.
In response to Israel ’s continuing illegal policies and measures in the Occupied , which have persisted since 1967 in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and U.N. resolutions, the international community has acted to reassert its position. In this regard, on 24 April 1997 the UN General Assembly convened, for the first time in 15 years, the 10th Emergency Special Session (a rare procedure based on UN resolution 377 (V) of 1950 entitled "Uniting for Peace") to consider illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The 10th Session recommended to the High Contracting Parties to convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory , including East Jerusalem , and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1. This represents the first time in the history of the Convention that such a call for a conference on a specific situation has been made. On 9 February 1999 , in its 5th resumption of the 10th session, the Assembly further recommended that a conference be convened on 15 July 1999 at U.N. headquarters at Geneva . The resolutions adopted by the session also affirmed the responsibility of the High Contracting Parties to respect and ensure respect for the Convention. Palestinian Territory.