Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

International Law

From its very inception, Israel has violated numerous statutes of International law. Statutes of international law violated by Israel include:

In addition, Israel is in violation of more UN resolutions than any other UN member state. Israel has violated 28 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (which are legally binding on member-nations), and almost 100 resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (which are not binding, but represent the will and understanding of the international community).

For a comprehensive list of the UN resolutions that Israel is in violation of, click here. In addition, the US has vetoed numerous UN Security Resolutions critical of Israel.

Israel also ignores the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 2004, which declared that the separation wall that Israel is building throughout the West Bank is contrary to international law, and that Israel is obliged to dismantle the structure forthwith and make reparations for all damage caused by its construction.

Illegal acquisition of land by force:

Israel annexed land by force during the 1948 war (including land outside of the UN Partition Plan).

Ejection of and denial of right of return to native Palestinians:

Over 750,000 Palestinian civilians were driven from their homes in 1948. These people and their descendants are prevented returning to their homeland by Israel in defiance of UN Resolution 194. and Article 13 of the universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to return of refugees and displaced peoples is enshrined in numerous humanitarian and human rights documents.

Destruction of property:

Over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. Since 1967 Israel has demolished 18,147 Palestinian homes, leaving over 100,000 people without shelter.

Israel’s admission to the United Nations was conditional on its acceptance of UN Resolutions 181 (Partition Plan) and 194 (Right of Return for Refugees) both of which it has failed to comply with. The legality of Israel’s seat at the UN is questionable.


The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines apartheid as follows:

…acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:

(a) Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;

(c) Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

(d) Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;

Whether they reside in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, or in Israel, Palestinians are discriminated against in a variety of ways and denied equal individual rights on the grounds of their descent, nationality and ethnic origin. These policies and practices of segregation and domination bear striking similarities to those adopted in apartheid-era South Africa.
Israeli discrimination against its non-Jewish Arab citizens is boldly set out in legislation. The following are just a few examples:

The Law of Return (1950)

grants right of immigration to Jews born anywhere in the world. It was amended in 1970 to extend this right to “a child of a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew” A “Jew” is defined “as a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and is not a member of another religion.”

Nationality (Citizenship) Law (1952)

Confers automatic citizenship upon all who immigrate under the Law of Return. Non-Jews, including native-born Palestinians must prove residency and pass other tests; citizenship is granted at the discretion of the Minister of the Interior.

Absentee Property Law (1950)

Classifies the personal property of Palestinians who fled during the Zionist terror campaign of 1947/48 as “absentee property” and places it within the power of the Custodian of Absentee Property. According to the law, even the property of Palestinians who are present within the newly created state of Israel, but are not physically present on their property (“internal refugees”), becomes “absentee property.” This creates the category of “present absentees.”

Land Acquisition (Validity of Acts and Compensation) Law (1953)

Confiscates the land of more than 400 Palestinian villages; “validates” retroactively their use for military purposes and for Jewish settlements.

National Planning and Building Law (1965)

Creates a system of discriminatory zoning that freezes existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion of Jewish settlements. The law also re-classifies a large number of Arab villages as “non-residential” creating the “unrecognized villages.” These villages do not receive basic municipal services such as water and electricity; all buildings are threatened with demolition orders.

Section 7A(1) of the Basic Law: The Knesset (1958)

Passed in 1985 bars a list of candidates from participation in elections to the Knesset “if its aims or actions, expressly or by implication” deny “the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”

The Law of Political Parties (1992)

Bars the Registrar of Political Parties from registering a political party if it denies “the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic State.”

The Israeli courts – guided by the Supreme Court – have consistently decided that discrimination between Arabs and Jews is legitimate based on the founding principles of Israel as a state for the Jewish people; “nationality” is considered a legitimate basis for discrimination.

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