Reading Time: 19 minutes

By: Prof. Paul De Waart*.

1. Israel, Palestine and International Law

It is unlikely that a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine will subsist, if it is not based on principles of international law.  The dispute over Palestine today is more characterized by legal argument than at any time before.  Regional and international fact finding reports on the Israeli military operation under the morbid code name Cast Lead  in the Gaza Strip – hereafter Gaza – from 27 December 2009 to 18 January 2009 highlight the importance of international law.  For these reports focus extensively on international crimes and the available remedies for that, including the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The legal assessment of the Israeli intervention in Gaza provoked the key question whether from the point of view of the Rome Statute  war crimes have been committed either by Israel only or also by other parties involved. As for the latter, both the LAS report and the UN report clearly intended to investigate alleged crimes without fear or favour, be they committed by Israelis, Palestinians or other nationalities. It is also important to note that the Declaration of the Government of Palestine to the ICC of 21 January 2009 recognized “the jurisdiction of the Court for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting and judging the authors and accomplices of acts committed in the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.”  Important elements of the fact finding in answering the question whether Israel did commit war crimes in Gaza during its military operation Cast Lead are the definition of war crimes in the Rome Statute, the legal qualification of Palestinian territory and the legal qualification of the military operation in the context of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

2. Elements of war crimes in the ICC Statute

2.1 Definition

The Rome Statute provides a detailed list of war crimes. Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute. This might be an obstacle to legal action but not to answering the question whether war crimes as defined for the purpose of the Rome Statute and/or international law at large have been committed in Gaza.  According to the Rome Statute the ICC shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large scale commission of such crimes.  For the purpose of the Rome Statute war crimes mean

1. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, i.e. 8 specified acts against protected person.
2. Other serious violations of the laws and customs in international armed conflict, including 26 specified acts.
3. In case of an armed conflict not of a national character, serious violations of common article 3 of the Four Geneva Conventions, including 4 specified acts committed against persons not actively involved. This does not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots etc.
4. Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflict, i.e. 12 specified acts, unless they are committed in situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts  of violence or other acts of similar nature.

However, the fact that the above serious violations may not be war crimes for the purpose of the Rome Statute does not affect the responsibility of a government to maintain or re-establish law and order in the state or to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the state by all legitimate means.  The definition of war crimes in the Rome Statute thus raises the following questions in respect of operation Cast Lead:

• Was the operation an armed conflict of a non-international character?
• Was the situation in Gaza a situation of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots?
• Was in case of an affirmative answer the Israeli government responsible for maintaining or re-establishing law and order in the state and to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the state by all legitimate means?

The answer to these questions is negative. For the IFFC and UNFFM the international character of the Israeli armed intervention in Gaza was beyond discussion. As for the former, it was a certainty that Palestine is a state since it is a member of the League of Arab States (LAS).  As for the latter there was no doubt that Gaza still is occupied territory. 

2.1.1 Legal qualification of Palestinian territory

The uncertainty in the context of operation Cast Lead is whether there is question of a conflict between two sovereign states, taking into account the continuing Israeli occupation of the whole territory of Palestine. In this respect the IFFC noted that Gaza is a part of the Palestine entity, which has been recognized by over 100 states as a state and is a member of the League of Arab States:

Moreover, Gaza is an occupied territory governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention which applies to territories occupied in the course of international armed conflicts. The inhabitants of Gaza are not Israeli nationals, but Palestinian nationals. For reasons of this kind the conflict must be viewed as one of an international character. This characterization has been accepted by the Israel Supreme Court. Consequently, in assessing the commission of war crimes by either party to the conflict it is necessary to treat the conflict as international. This categorization does, however, make little difference in practice as many of the unlawful acts considered in this report qualify as war crimes whether committed in international or non-international armed conflicts.

According to a factsheet of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – hereinafter Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) – are disputed territory and not occupied territory.  The factsheet contends that the status of the OPT can only be determined through negotiations. The Quartet – the European Union, the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Nations – , particularly the United States, as well as western states, do not consider Palestine to be a state as yet. In their view the statehood of Palestine will be the result of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Both the Roadmap  and the 2004 Wall Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)  have overlooked that under international law it is not anymore a question of creating but of recognizing the State of Palestine! All in all, it is said that the recognition of the statehood of Palestine was a largely symbolic gesture and that the basic requirements of statehood – people, territory, authority – have not been fulfilled.  This view is very contestable since the fulfilment of these de facto requirements has been effectively prevented by Israel’s violations of international law.

2.1.2 Legal qualification of operation Cast Lead

The above Israeli view that the OPT is disputed and not occupied territory may explain that according to Israel Geneva Convention IV does not apply to the OPT, anyhow not de jure but only de facto. In the context of this convention, however, the discussion on ‘disputed’ versus ‘occupied’ is irrelevant, for the convention applies regardless of whatever claims of sovereignty, including those of Israel.  The applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the OPT does imply that grave breaches of this convention in Gaza during operation Cast Lead are war crimes within the meaning of the Rome Statute. This holds true even if the conflict would be a non-international one because it involves only one state: Israel.

The definition of war crimes in de Rome Statute does not refer explicitly to the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions relating to Victims of International Armed conflicts. It does so implicitly. Israel is not a party to the Protocol which extends the protection under the Geneva Conventions to
Situations in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

Like Geneva Convention IV, Protocol I prohibits collective punishments. According to the LAS report it can easily be inferred from Israel’s conduct that the principal purpose of its attack Gaza was to engage in such punishment.

2.2 War crimes in Gaza

The LAS report and the UN report gave ample evidence that war crimes, as defined in the Rome Statute, have been committed. The former report also shows that the ICC may be able to exercise jurisdiction.  Since there is no prospect that Israel will become a party to the Rome Statute, the LAS report took as a standard the most generally accepted war crimes, i.e.:

1. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians.
2. Killing, wounding and terrorization of civilians.
3. Wanton destruction of property not justified by military necessity.
4. Attacks on hospitals, ambulances and means of humanitarian assistance.

The LAS report assessed the Israeli and Palestinian actions in Gaza from the perspective of the above categories of war crimes  and that each time under the headings of The Law, Palestinian Actions and Israeli Actions successively.

2.2.1 Findings

The IFFM rejected the Israeli argument that its operation Cast Lead was justified because of self-defence, military necessity, proportionality and terrorism control. Referring to the 2004 Wall Opinion, the committee took the position that Israel could not invoke its right to self-defence because it cannot claim that the attacks from Gaza are imputable to a foreign state and because it is in control of Gaza.  Moreover, the suggestion that modern international law allows self-defence against terrorism has no bearing on the Gaza conflict for a number of reasons. First of all Israel’s response was not an immediate attack in response to Palestinian rockets. Moreover, Israel was itself responsible for violating an agreed six month truce with Hamas. Finally, there was no question of Israel limiting its attack to what is considered as “infrastructure of terrorism”.

The UNFFM took only note of Israel’s appeal to self-defence in launching its operation Cast Lead.  Nevertheless, on the whole, the UN report passed the same message: war crimes have been committed in Gaza by both sides but particularly by Israel both qualitatively and quantitatively. In this connection it is worth mentioning that both the IFFC and the UNFFM had the full co-operation authorities in Gaza, but that they tried in vain to get the cooperation of the Israeli government in their fact finding mission. For that reason Israel and its allies may not lament that the reports are not balanced and biased towards Israel. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians,

The LAS report concluded with respect to Palestinian actions that, to the extent the rockets were fired indiscriminately and took no account of civilian life, such attacks constituted war crimes.  As for Israeli action the report let be no mistake that both the Israeli bombardment of Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 3 January 2009 and its land offensive from 4 to 18 January 2009 “were conducted in a manner which failed to discriminate between civilian and military targets” and that Israel’s justification for its aerial and land offensives were based on a false determination of civilian and military targets. Moreover the attacks were disproportionate. Killing, wounding and terrorization of civilians

The indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Palestinians during the conflict resulted in the killing of four civilians and the wounding of 182 civilians. Rockets have had a traumatic effect on the population of Sderot and neighbouring Israeli towns and have generated a state of terror among the civilian population. Those who fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel from Gaza are responsible for the killing, wounding and terrorization of civilians in Israel. They may therefore be held responsible for the war crime of killing, wounding and terrorisation of civilians. 

Over 1,400 Palestinians, including over 850 civilians, were killed by Israel in operation Cast Lead. Over 5,000 were wounded. The LAS report stated that The overwhelming majority of civilians affected were killed or wounded in indiscriminate bombings, shelling, crossfire or deliberate fire. In most instances those responsible for these killings or wounding dropped their bombs or fired their shells deliberately on civilian objects or in densely populated areas where they must have foreseen that the killing or wounding of civilians would ensue. If they did not do so deliberately, they acted recklessly in respect of the foreseeable consequences. In the language of the Rome Statute, they meant to cause the consequences in question or they were aware such consequences would occur “in the ordinary course of events”. This means that they had the necessary intent (mens rea) for the crime of wilful killing or wounding of civilians. 

According to the report “those responsible for ordering, managing and implementing the attack on Gaza are accountable for the unlawful killing and wounding of civilians. They are also responsible for using weapons designed to cause great suffering and for spreading terror among the civilian population by means of continuous bombardment over a period of 22 days and by the giving of confusing warnings to people to evacuate their homes.” Wanton destruction of property not justified by military necessity

Palestinian rockets fired indiscriminately into Israel have caused some damage to civilian property. Unfortunately the IFFC was not able to assess the extent of this damage as a result of the failure of the Israeli government to co-operate with the committee. The committee is of the opinion that those persons who have indiscriminately fired rockets into Israel are responsible for damage to property. However, the committee received no evidence that the damage resulted in the wanton destruction of property. 

As for Israeli actions, the LAS report concluded that the massive destruction of properties of all kinds in Gaza cannot be justified for the following reasons:

First, the statistics of the destruction make it impossible to argue that the destruction was in any way proportionate to the injury suffered by Israel or the harm threatened. Secondly, it is difficult to accept that considerations of military necessity could have justified such destruction. Palestinian resistance at best was sporadic and isolated. There was no conventional army to confront. It is therefore difficult to imagine what military necessity might have justified such devastation. On occasion private homes were requisitioned to secure advantageous military positions, but in many instances such houses were destroyed or damaged when the IDF troops withdrew.

Buildings were destroyed not for any military advantage or for reasons of military necessity but in order to punish the people of Gaza for tolerating a Hamas regime. For this reason, buildings that represent the cultural identity of Gaza, such as mosques, schools, hospitals and public buildings were destroyed in a wanton manner. “This is nowhere more clearly illustrated than in the case of the deliberate targeting of the minarets of mosques. The destruction of private homes simply added to the punitive impact of the operation Cast Lead.” Attacks on hospitals, ambulances and means of humanitarian assistance.

The IFFC found that in the course of operation Cast Lead fifteen hospitals and 43 primary care clinics were destroyed or seriously damaged. There is also extensive evidence that ambulances and medical help workers were fired upon. Sixteen medical help workers were killed and 28 wounded by the the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) while performing their duties. Consequently the evacuation of the wounded was obstructed, often for days; sometimes with fatal consequences.  According to the report there is sufficient evidence to establish that the IDF attacked hospitals, prevented the evacuation of the wounded and obstructed and attacked ambulances.

2.2.2 Israeli views on its Gaza Operation

Referring to the LAS report and the reports of NGO’s like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Israel complained that reports and rapporteurs and committees acting under the mandate of their constituencies jumped to the conclusion that tragic incidents ipso facto demonstrate violations of international law, or even “war crimes”.  When the Israeli report discussed the use of white phosphorus it argued that there appear to have been no documented deaths in Gaza resulting from exposure to white phosphorous itself.

There have been reports of civilians receiving non-lethal burns from white phosphorous, although the number of such cases and the manner in which such burns were received is unclear. For instance, while statements by Gaza hospital officials express suspicions of white phosphorous burns in patients, they do not specify the number of cases, and acknowledge that physicians did not have the means necessary to distinguish white phosphorus burns from other types of burns.

In so doing, the Israeli report referred to the Report of Physicians for Human Rights.  However, that report only stated that Due to the long time that had elapsed between the injuries and the arrival of the experts’ team, it was not possible to tie specific observed burns injuries to white phosphorus with the technical resources available to the team. Indeed, it is unclear whether even advanced laboratory techniques can make such a connection at such a late stage since, ideally, identification should be made within hours of exposure.

At the time the IFFC finished and submitted its report, the Israeli report was not yet published. This happened in July 2009.The UNFFM received the Israeli report, through UN Watch, “that sets out the government of Israel’s position on many issues investigated by the mission.”  Nevertheless, the UN report did not differ from the conclusions of the LAS report in respect of war crimes. This may not surprise, because the focus of the Israeli report was to defend the reputation of the Israeli army as a law abiding institution thanks to training a legal supervision. It strikes that the Israeli report did not contain a single reference to the Oslo Agreements, Palestinian National Authority and the Roadmap to Peace or to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process at large. Its main message seemed to be to depict Hamas as the root of all evil, which Israel has the right to outlaw.

3. ICC jurisdiction and war crimes

3.1 Crimes

Crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.  The focus of the present paper is on war crimes in Gaza.  As for the other crimes, the IFFM reported as follows.

3.1.1 Genocide

The ICC has only jurisdiction over persons and not over states. The IFFM found no proof that the government of Israel had the necessary genocidal. The committee, however, could not exclude that some individual soldiers may have committed genocide. Their eventual prosecution depends on the possibility to prove that a certain individual acted with genocidal special intent.

By the way, the Genocide Convention, to which Israel is a party, provides for the possibility to submit a violation of the convention to the ICC.  However, in the light of absence of clear evidence that acts of genocide have been committed, the IFFM was unable to recommend that states bring proceedings against Israel under the Genocide Convention.

3.1.2 Crimes against humanity

As for crimes against humanity, the IFFM concluded that the IDF were responsible for murder, extermination, persecution and other inhuman acts during operation Cast Lead. It also concluded that these acts of violence were committed with knowledge of the attack in the sense that the perpetrators knew the conduct was part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population and that they intended to further such an attack.

3.1.3 Aggression

The IFFM took the view that operation Cast Lead was heinous and inhuman. It did not accept the Israeli argument that the action was legitimate, lawful exercise of self-defence and in accordance with the requirements of proportionality and military necessity. However, taking into account the uncertainty over the definition of aggression and the fact that the UN has ruled on the statehood of Palestine as yet, the committee took no position on the question whether the assault of Israel on Gaza could in law be described as aggression for the purpose of the Rome Statute.

3.2 Referral

The ICC may exercise jurisdiction if one or more of the following states are parties to the Rome Statute or have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court ad hoc with respect to the crimes referred to in article 5 of the Rome Statute: the state on which the conduct in question occurred or the state of which the person, accused of the crime, is the national.  The ICC may also exercise jurisdiction if the Prosecutor has initiated an investigation in respect of such a crime in accordance with article 15(1) and 12(2) of the Rome Statute when the states involved have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court either generally or ad hoc.

Both the LAS report and the UN report recommended the calling in of the ICC. The latter report focused only on the possibility that the Security Council may refer the situation in Gaza under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to the Prosecutor of the ICC in accordance with article 13(b) of the Rome Statute.
The former report, however, also dealt with the possibilities of Palestine itself by accepting the exercise of the jurisdiction of the ICC as a non State Party with respect to the crime in question  – i.e. war crimes committed in Gaza – by depositing its instrument of accession with the UN Secretary General.

By doing both – first ad hoc acceptance and then general acceptance – Palestine may even enable the ICC to deal with crimes in Gaza retroactively at the request of Palestine as a State Party to the Rome Statute. 

3.2.1 State non-party

Palestine lodged its declaration accepting the ad hoc jurisdiction of the ICC almost immediately after the end of Operation Cast Lead, albeit not only with respect to crimes committed in Gaza.  The reference to the territory of Palestine implies that it applies to every person, who has committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court since 1 July 2002 – the beginning of the second Intifada – in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. The declaration referred to the territory of Palestine, which implied that it also extends to crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC committed not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem by Israelis and Palestinians as well as other nationals.

The Rome State does not give the ICC a handle to turn down the lodging by a state, which is not a party to the Rome Statute, of a declaration to accept the exercise of its jurisdiction, under the pretext that the lodgement is not from a state. The Rome Statute is open for accession by all states without any restriction.  In that respect it differs from the United Nations Charter , the ICJ Statute , the International Human Rights Covenants , and quite a number of other multilateral treaties. Neither does international law gives the ICC a leg to stand on due to the lack of a legal definition of a state.

In this particular case, it is undeniable that Palestine has been recognized by quite a number of states, accompanied by the establishment of embassies and the exchange of ambassadors. It also is a full member of the League of Arab States, a regional organization of the United Nations. So far it could not become a member of the UN or accede to multilateral treaties for political reasons only or mainly.   Nevertheless, the Palestinian embassies are entitled to inviolability regardless of the fact that Palestine cannot become a party to the 1961Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as long as the UN General Assembly does not invite Palestine to do so. 

The ICC, however, has authority to decide whether the acceptance of its jurisdiction by that state is required in order to exercise its jurisdiction when crimes have been committed in the territory of that state by nationals of a State Party, for instance in the present case by Israeli or Palestinian citizens who also have the nationality of a State Party to the Rome Statute. As for Israeli citizens without dual nationality, the LAS report underlined the lapse of criminal jurisdiction of Israel in the OPT and particularly in Gaza. Admittedly, according to the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area of 4 May 1994 between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, Israel had the sole criminal jurisdiction over Israelis committing crimes in the OPT..  However, according to the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, these arrangements were meant for a period of five years only, to begin upon the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

The withdrawal began in June 1994. Whatever the impact of a de facto continuation of the arrangement, the intended de jure expiration of the permanent status arrangements, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and the special status given by Israel to the Hamas controlled Gaza territory as a ‘hostile entity’  implied the lapse of Israel’s claim to sole criminal jurisdiction over Israelis responsible for committing crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC committed in Gaza during operation Cast Lead.

3.2.2 Accession to the Rome Statute

The IFFC recommended that the LAS and its members support the decision of the government of Palestine to recognize ad hoc the jurisdiction of the ICC. In order to prevent new Israeli military operations in Gaza, the LAS report further recommends that the LAS and its members advise the government of Palestine to deposit an instrument of accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC.  The LAS has already taken steps accordingly. There is no doubt that the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Gaza but the key question is whether there is a possibility for the ICC to exercise jurisdiction. This possibility is now under consideration as a result of Palestine’s above mentioned declaration.

The LAS also approved the recommendation of the IFFC to support an accession by Palestine to the Rome Statute.  The UN Secretary General should accept a Palestinian instrument of accession to the Rome Statute. The UN Secretary General may only refuse a Palestinian instrument of accession, if he is of the opinion that Palestine is not a state. Like the ICC he will have no legal ground to do so, taking into account the above membership of the LAS and recognition by a substantial number of other states. After all, the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, and western states have been responsible for this situation by their unwillingness or powerlessness to fulfil the sacred trust of civilization in respect of the completion of the Palestine Mandate. They failed to recognize that the Palestinian statehood is the cornerstone and not the coping stone of Peace in the Middle East. Operation Cast Lead is the bottom rock of the latter attitude. 

3.3 Feasibility

Having shown that war crimes have been committed as defined for the purpose of the Rome Statute, the LAS report will make the jurisdiction of the ICC only feasible if files could be submitted on identified suspects. This was made clear in no uncertain terms at a meeting of the LAS and the IFFM with the Public Prosecutor of the ICC in October 2009 in The Hague on the follow up of the LAS report. Therefore, the LAS requested the IFFM to complete its task before its discontinuance by preparing a proposal for the establishment of an independent unit for investigating recent alleged crimes which occurred in Palestinian Territories between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009. The objective of the proposed investigating unit is to collect evidence of alleged crimes to international legal standards, using the ICC Rome Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence as the legal standards framework within which to work, and to complete its mandate within one calendar year from its formal start date. The basis for the cooperation between the unit and the government of Palestine will be the above declaration of the latter on the recognition of the jurisdiction of the ICC.  The LAS is currently considering the proposal.

The UNFFM recommended the Security Council to refer, in the absence of good faith investigations by Israel and Palestine, the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of ICC pursuant to Article 13 (b) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.  However, since the Security Council refused to convene an emergency session to discuss the UN report, such a referral is not likely to be done.  Unlike the Security Council, the General Assembly endorsed the UN report. With that, it called upon the government of Israel and the “Palestinian side” (sic!) to undertake, within a period of three months, investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law, reported by the UNFFM, towards ensuring accountability and justice. 

4. Significance of ICC jurisdiction for Peace in the Middle East

Israel, the United States and a small number of other countries, including the Netherlands voted against the adoption of the UNFFM report by the UN Human Rights Council, because its acceptance would harm the peace process. Apart from the fact that it cannot harm what has been nonexistent for quite some time, if it ever really existed, these states take the responsibility that Israel will continue its violation of international law at the expense of the Palestinian people.

All references by president Obama and, reluctantly, by prime minister Netanyahu, to a two state solution as the outcome of bilateral peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine overlook that the real issue is not the creation of the State of Palestine but the recognition of that state by states, who have not yet done so. The real subject for discussion in truly and effective peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine under international supervision – particularly the UN –  are the consequences of their mutual recognition as states, i.e. the scope and content of the peace treaty between equal parties in respect of territory, security, right to return of Palestinians to Israel, and the removal of Israeli settlements in the 1967 OPT.

The significance of ICC jurisdiction is that it will make clear unambiguously to both Israel and Palestine that they have a right to exist by the grace of the political sacred trust of civilization of the international community, which has become hard law under the aegis of the United Nations. The Rome Statute makes it possible for Palestine to accede as a state and to become a member of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute.  This will enhance its position as a negotiator on equal footing with Israel. Such an outcome might be really possible if the LAS and its members as well as relevant NGO’s in Israel, Palestine  and elsewhere succeed in submitting files to the ICC proving the suspicion that identified persons within reach of the jurisdiction of the court have committed war crimes. For then the ICC will not only have jurisdiction in theory but will also be able to exercise it in practice. This outcome may pave the way at long last for of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East for the first time in the painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Click here to download Prof. Paul De Waart Academic Paper:
Academic Paper: Israeli War Crimes in Gaza according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (12 page, 605 KB )

 * Professor Paul de Waart: Emeritus professor of international law at the VU University Amsterdam (Holland). Prof. de Waart has been involved in many legal activities and authored publications on the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Development and Human Rights. He is a member of the Independent Fact Finding Committee on Gaza to the League of Arab States, established in February 2009.

This paper was originally presented at al-Zaytouna conference “Israel & the International Law” in 2009. We, in al-Zaytouna Centre, found this paper is still of importance and interest to researchers and scholars, who are following the situation in Gaza Strip.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 7/8/2014