Israel law review, Vol. 50, issue 1, March 2017, p. 3-23
Humanitarian assistance is essential for the survival of the civilian population and people hors de combat in the theatre of war. Its regulation under the laws of armed conflict tries to achieve a balance between humanitarian goals and state sovereignty. This balance, reflected in the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, is not as relevant to contemporary armed conflicts, most of which involve non-state armed groups. Even those provisions relating to humanitarian assistance in conflicts involving non-state armed groups fail to address properly the key features of these groups, and especially their territorial aspect. This article proposes a different approach, which takes into consideration and gives weight to the control exercised by non-state armed groups over a given territory. Accordingly, it is suggested that provisions regulating humanitarian relief operations in occupied territories should apply to territories controlled by armed groups. This approach views international humanitarian law first and foremost as an effective, realistic and practical branch of law. Moreover, it has tremendous humanitarian advantages and reflects the aims and purposes of the law, while considering the factual framework of these conflicts.