International humanitarian law and the Israeli Supreme Court
Host item entries:
Israel law review, Vol. 47, issue 2, July 2014, p. 181-189
In contrast with most other municipal courts in the world, the Israeli Supreme Court routinely decides cases based on international humanitarian law (IHL). Since the Six Day War in 1967, both the state and the Supreme Court have agreed that the Court has jurisdiction to decide humanitarian issues that come before it from territory held under belligerent occupation. The Court has indeed done so in issues ranging from land seizures to targeted killings, ruling on the basis of the relevant IHL. The Court has been criticised for its judgments, both from the right wing of the political spectrum, who see it as interfering with military matters, and from the left, who see it as granting legitimacy to occupation. In this article, I briefly describe the development, both historical and legal, of IHL in the Israeli Supreme Court, the criticism of the way the law is applied by the Court, and finally the importance of the fundamental concepts of human dignity and proportionality to IHL decisions.