Demolition and sealing of houses in the Israeli occupied territories : a critical legal analysis
Usama R. Halabi
Host item entries:
Temple international and comparative law journal, Vol. 5, no. 2, 1991, p. 251-272
First, this article examines the basic characteristics of the Israeli policy of demolition and sealing of houses and how this policy has been applied by military authorities. Next, this article discusses the applicability of international humanitarian and international human rights law to the Occupied Territories, and briefly discusses the different functions of the Israeli Supreme Court. It then examines Israel's legal basis for using demolition and sealing, and argues that Israel's legal basis did not exist under local law in force when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied in 1967. Alternatively, the article argues that even if such a legal basis is found in local law, Israel as an occupying power should have revoked its use of demolition and sealing or at a minimum, should have disregarded this practice as against the modern concept of the rule of law. Finally, in contrast to the position taken by the Israeli High Court, this article contends that demolition and sealing constitutes collective punishment and therefore, violates both humanitarian international law and the international law of human rights. The article concludes that the Israeli Supreme Court should reconsider its position which presently supports the subjective decisions of military commanders to seal and demolish homes for use as a deterrent against Palestinians suspected or convicted of crimes.
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