ARTICLE: PROLONGED MILITARY OCCUPATION: THE ISRAELI-OCCUPIED TERRITORIES SINCE 1967 Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1990 The American Society of International Law
American Journal of International Law

ARTICLE: PROLONGED MILITARY OCCUPATION: THE ISRAELI-OCCUPIED TERRITORIES SINCE 1967

January, 1990

84 A.J.I.L. 44

Author

Adam Roberts *

Excerpt

To what extent are international legal rules formally applicable, and practically relevant, to a prolonged military occupation? The question has assumed prominence because of the exceptional duration of the occupation by Israel of various territories that came under its control in the war of June 5-10, 1967. The situation there has had two classic features of a military occupation: first, a formal system of external control by a force whose presence is not sanctioned by international agreement; and second, a conflict of nationality and interest between the inhabitants, on the one hand, and those exercising power over them, on the other. In highlighting these features, the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, which began in Gaza and the West Bank in December 1987, has added urgency to the question of the law applicable to prolonged occupations.

There is a simple answer, and a perfectly serious one, to the central question addressed here. Israel has given express commitments over the years to implement the terms of a large number of treaties, and is also, like all states, bound by international customary law. These are solemn obligations. There is no need to engage in the laborious business of seeking to prove that any or every commitment passes an artificial test of "applicability" in a given situation. Rather, the burden of proof lies on an obligated state to show, if it can, that in the actual situation a given commitment does not apply. Hence, it can be asserted, ...
 
 
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