The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal by International Law

Israel invading Palestine

The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal by International Law

Israeli settlements in Palestine are illegal by International Law. They have been condemned by several International Organizations. The attrocities committed against the Palestinians constitute a war crime and a near-genocide.


  1. Israel has been condemned by the UN and other International Organizations.
    1. The Illegal occupation of Palestinian territory
    2. “A flagrant violation under international law”
  2. The actions committed by Israel in Palestine amount to war crime.
    1. Indiscriminate attacks
    2. Illegal settlements
    3. Economic Blockade
  3. Independent investigators have classified the killings as “genocide”.
    1. Legal definition of “genocide”
    2. Purported Genocide of the Palestinian people
    3. The Numbers of the massacre
    4. The ratio of civilians and children killed is increasing
  4. Reference


Israel has been condemned by the UN and other International Organizations.

  • More than half of the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council are against Israel.
  • 86% of the 97 resolutions of the UN General Assembly from 2012 to 2015 were against Israel.
  • All the resolutions of UNESCO from 2006 to 2016 were against Israel except for one.
  • Israel is the only country condemned by the World Health Organization.[1]
  • Israel has been denounced by human rights organizations such as AI, the HRW or UNICEF.


The Illegal occupation of Palestinian territory

Since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, numerous United Nations resolutions, including 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),  affirm unambiguously that Israel’s occupation is illegal, and, since Resolution 446 adopted on 22 March 1979, have confirmed that its settlements there have no legal validity and pose a serious obstacle to peace.[2] [3]


“A flagrant violation under international law”

Resolution 2334, adopted by the Security Council on 23 December 2016, stated that Israeli settlements constitute «a flagrant violation under international law» and said that all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, must “immediately and completely cease.»[4] [5]


The actions committed by Israel in Palestine amount to war crime.

Michael Lynk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, concluded that the Israeli settlements amount to a war crime.[6]


Indiscriminate attacks

International law prohibits indiscriminate attacks, which are not directed against a military objective, or which employ a method that cannot be directed at a specific military objective, or a method whose effects cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law. International law also requires combatants, when targeting military objectives, to take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, civilian casualties.

The Human Rights Watch investigated two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza during a flare-up in fighting with Palestinian armed groups in November 2019 that killed at least 11 civilians, in apparent violations of the laws of war. They informed that the strikes appeared to have violated the laws of war because they struck civilian objects with little or no evidence that the attackers took all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize loss of civilian life. In addition, they reported that the attacks on Israel by Palestinian armed groups also violated the laws of war.[7]

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that Israel may have committed “war crimes” during its 11-day bombardment of Gaza in May 2021. In her opening address to the UN Human Rights Council special session, Bachelet condemned the high number of civilian fatalities and large-scale destruction of infrastructure and vital facilities in the densely-populated Gaza Strip, due to Israeli airstrikes. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the attacks killed at least 253 Palestinians, 66 of them children, and injured over 1,900. Bachelet also called out Hamas for initiating rocket attacks on Israel, which killed at least 12 Israelis, including 2 children.[8] [9] Human Rights Watch investigated three Israeli strikes that killed 62 Palestinian civilians where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity.[10]


Illegal settlements

The Israeli settlements are a presumptive war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court[11] (ICC). Nearly 700,000 Israeli settlers are now living in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.[12]

The Geneva Convention, the international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war, states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory” (article 49).[13]


Economic Blockade

Over the past 14 years, more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under Israel’s illegal blockade. Along with four major military offensives, the blockade has had catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza. There are severe shortages of housing, drinking water, electricity, essential medicines and medical care, food, educational equipment and building materials.
The blockade prevents Palestinians from accessing adequate healthcare, in particular life-saving and other emergency medical treatment only available outside Gaza. The Israeli authorities often delay these permits and sometimes fail to provide them at all. In 2020, Gaza had the world’s highest unemployment rate, and more than half of its population was living below the poverty line.[14]


Independent investigators have classified the killings as “genocide”

Legal definition of “genocide”

Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group[15], as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


“The Genocide Convention establishes in Article I that the crime of genocide may take place in the context of an armed conflict, international or non-international.” “Importantly, the victims of genocide are deliberately targeted.”[16]


Purported Genocide of the Palestinian people

An article published by the Center for Constitutional Rights (a non-profit legal advocacy organization based in New York City), concludes that the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians constitutes a genocide from the legal point of view.[17] UN independent investigator Richard Falk described the situation in Palestine as an “ethnic cleansing”.[18]


The numbers of the massacre (click for more)

Since the year 2000 until 2021, 10,160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli Security Forces, about half (4,888) of which were not participating in hostilities. Of the rest, 3,468 were hostile and the rest were either unknown or a result of collateral damage of targeted attacks. 2,183 Palestinian minors have been killed since the year 2000, of which 330 were age 5 or younger. 562 of those were killed in the year 2014 alone.


The ratio of civilians and children killed is increasing

Since the year 2008, at least 57% of the Palestinians killed by Israel have been unarmed civilians. 39% of all the Palestinian civilians killed by Israel are children (50% in 2021). The conflict has become more one-sided over time. 25 Palestinian civilians are killed for every Israeli, and 64 Palestinian children for every Israeli.[19]

Since 2008 Palestinian Israeli Odds 2021 Palestinian Israeli Odds
Militant 5,998 262 23/1 Militant 253 11 23/1
Civilian 3,432 139 25/1 Civilian 123 9 14/1
Children 1347 21 64/1 Children 64 2 32/1
Injured 135,261 5857 23/1 Injured 2,211 166 13/1

*Armed minors or combatants do not count as children in these figures.



  1. “The U.n. and Israel: Key Statistics From.” 2016. UN Watch.
  2. Article title: International law and Israeli settlements – Wikipedia. URL:…/International_law_and…
  1. Council, Security. 2016. “S/RES/2334 (2016).”
  2. “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms.”
  3. “Five Years after UNSC Resolution 2334, International Accountability to End the Israeli Occupation Is More Important than Ever – Occupied Palestinian Territory.” ReliefWeb.…/five-years-after-unsc…
  4. “Israeli Settlements Amount to a War Crime, Special Rapporteur Tells Human Rights Council.” OHCHR.…/israeli-settlements-amount-war…
  5. “Gaza: Apparently Unlawful Israeli Strikes Kill at Least 11 Civilians.” 2020. Human Rights Watch.…/gaza-apparently-unlawful-israeli…
  6. “Israel May Have Committed ‘War Crimes’ in Gaza, According to UN.” 2021. The Organization for World Peace.…
  7. “Amid Indiscriminate Attacks, ‘Hell on Earth’ Conditions, Secretary-General Demands Ceasefire to Avoid Uncontainable Crisis in, beyond Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
  8. “Gaza: Apparent War Crimes during May Fighting.” 2021. Human Rights Watch.…/gaza-apparent-war-crimes-during…
  10. “Israel Settlement Expansion ‘Tramples’ on Human Rights Law, Experts Contend.” 2021. UN News.
  11. “IV GENEVA CONVENTION RELATIVE TO THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIAN PERSONS IN TIME OF WAR OF 12 AUGUST 1949 PART I General Provisions Article 1 Respect for the Convention.”…/atrocity-crimes/Doc.33_GC-IV-EN.pdf
  12. “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians.” 2022. Amnesty International.…/02/israels-system-of-apartheid
  13. “Office of the Un Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (Osapg).”…/pdf/osapg_analysis_framework.pdf
  14. United Nations. “United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.”
  15. “The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective.” Center for Constitutional Rights.…
  16. “UN Human Rights Council: ‘Israel Engaging in Ethnic Cleansing.’”…/E-7-2011-003188_EN.html
  17. “Data on Casualties.” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian territory.

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