Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 29, 2015

The Legitimating Role of the Israeli High Court of Justice: From Occupation to Segregation

  • Sharon Weill EMAIL logo
From the journal Global Jurist


Since the early years of the occupation, Israel has promoted a settlement policy and encouraged Israeli Jewish citizens to live in new communities it established in the OPT. Over the years, the Israeli and Palestinian populations living in separated cities and villages, situated side by side, over the entire Occupied West Bank, have been placed under the jurisdiction of two different sets of laws. The creation of this segregated legal regime in the OPT was indispensable in order to keep the original Palestinian population subordinated to military rule, denied civil rights and any democratic representation, and to carry out the settlements policy of the State of Israel. This article demonstrates through a critical analysis of case law, how the Israeli High Court of Justice, through the selective use (and misuse) of the law of military occupation, not only has legitimatized the creation of a segregation regime in the OPT but also has actively contributed to its formation by providing the State with the necessary legal tools required to design and implement it.


The author wishes to thank Prof. John Dugard for his support.


Balkin, J. M. 1987. Deconstructive Practice and Legal Theory. Yale Law Journal96:743.10.2307/796361Search in Google Scholar

Balkin, J. M. 1999. Deconstruction. In: A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, edited by D.Patterson, 367. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.10.1111/b.9780631213291.1999.00024.xSearch in Google Scholar

Ben-Naftali, O., A.Gross, and K.Michaeli. 2005. Illegal Occupation: The Framing of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Berkeley Journal of International Law24:551.Search in Google Scholar

Benvenisti, E. 1993. Judicial Misgivings Regarding the Application of International Norms: An Analysis of Attitudes of National Courts. European Journal of International Law4 (2):159183.10.1093/oxfordjournals.ejil.a035824Search in Google Scholar

Benvenisti, E. 2004a. National Courts and the “War on Terrorism. In Enforcing International Law Norms Against Terrorism, edited by A.Bianchi, 309318. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Search in Google Scholar

Benvenisti, E. 2004b. The International Law of Occupation, 2nd edn, 119. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 309–318.Search in Google Scholar

Benvenisti, E. 2008. United We Stand: National Courts Reviewing Counterterrorism Measures. In Counterterrorism: Democracy’s Challenge, edited by A.Bianchi and A.Keller, 251.Search in Google Scholar

Bothe, M. 1997. Occupation, Belligerent. In Encyclopedia of Public International Law, edited by R.Bernhardt, 765.Search in Google Scholar

Brest, P. 1982. Interpretation and Interest. Stanford Law Review34:765.10.2307/1228385Search in Google Scholar

Buchanan, I. 2010. Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory, p.115. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Cotterrell, R. 1984. The Sociology of Law, 234245. London: Butterworths.Search in Google Scholar

Dinstein, Y. 2004. Legislation Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations: Belligerent Occupation and Peace Building. 118. Harvard paper series.Search in Google Scholar

Dinstein, Y. 2009. The International Law of Belligerent Occupation, 2030. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511818257Search in Google Scholar

Dugard, J., and J.Reynolds. 2013. Apartheid, International Law, and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. European Journal of International Law24 (3):147.10.1093/ejil/cht045Search in Google Scholar

Franck, T. M. 1992. Political Questions/Judicial Answers: Does the Rule of Law Apply to Foreign Affairs?1012. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Feilchenfeld, E. H. 1942. The International Economic Law of Belligerent Occupation, 89. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Search in Google Scholar

Greenspan, M. 1959. The Modern Law of Land Warfare, 224. Berkley: University of California Press.10.1525/9780520345898Search in Google Scholar

Greenwood, C. 1992. The Administration of Occupied Territories. In International Law and the Administration of Occupied Territories, edited by E.Playfair, 263. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gross, A. 2007. Human Proportions: Are Human Rights the Emperor’s New Clothes of the International Law of Occupation?. European Journal of International Law18:1.10.1093/ejil/chm001Search in Google Scholar

Henckaerts, J. M., and L.Doswald-Beck. 2005. Customary International Humanitarian Law – Volume I: Rules. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511804700Search in Google Scholar

Kearney, M. 2012. Why Statehood Now: A Reflection on the ICC’s Impact on Palestine’s Engagement with International Law. In Is There a Court for Gaza? – A Test Bench for International Justice, edited by C.Meloni and G.Tognoni.10.1007/978-90-6704-820-0_8Search in Google Scholar

Kennedy, D. 1985. The Turn to Interpretation. South Carolina Law Review58:251.Search in Google Scholar

Kennedy, D. 1997. A Critique of Adjudication (Fin Du Siècle), 37, 59, 60. Mass, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Koskenniemi, M. 2005. From Apology to Utopia – the Structure of International Legal Argument, 3840. New York: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511493713Search in Google Scholar

Kretzmer, D. 2002. The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories, 3142. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kretzmer, D. 2005a. The Supreme Court of Israel: Judicial Review During Armed Conflict. German Yearbook of International Law47:392455.Search in Google Scholar

Kretzmer, D. 2005b. The Advisory Opinion: The Light Treatment of International Humanitarian LawAmerican Journal of International Law99:pp. 93.10.2307/3246092Search in Google Scholar

McDougal, M. S., and F. P.Feliciano. 1961. Law and Minimum World Public Order: Transitional Coercion and World Public Order, 767. New Haven: Yale University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Oppenheim, L. 1917. The Legal Relations Between an Occupying Power and the Inhabitants. Law Quarterly Review33:363.Search in Google Scholar

Pictet, J. (ed.). 1958. Commentary: Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, p. 337. Geneva: ICRC.Search in Google Scholar

Raguan, G. 2010. Adjudicating Armed Conflict in Domestic Courts: The Experience of Israel’s Supreme Court. Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law13:6195.10.1007/978-90-6704-811-8_2Search in Google Scholar

Roberts, A. What Is a Military Occupation?. 1984. British Yearbook of International Law55:1.10.1093/bybil/55.1.249Search in Google Scholar

Roberts, A. 1990. Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories Since 1967. American Journal of International Law84:1.10.2307/2203016Search in Google Scholar

Roberts, A. 2007. Transformative Military Occupation: Applying the Laws of the War and Human Rights. In International Law and Armed Conflict, Exploring the Fault Lines: Essays in Honour of Yoram Dinstein, edited by M. N.Schmitt and J.Pejic, 439495. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.10.1163/ej.9789004154285.i-590.90Search in Google Scholar

Rosenfeld, M. 1989–1990. Deconstruction and Legal Interpretation: Conflict, Indeterminacy and the Temptations of the New Legal Formalism. California Law Review11:1211.Search in Google Scholar

Rubinstein, A. 1988. The Changing Status of the ‘Territories’: From Escrow to Legal Mongrel. TAU Studies in Law8:7778.Search in Google Scholar

Sassòli, M. 2004. Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Peace Operations in the Twenty-First Century. 126. Harvard paper series.Search in Google Scholar

Sassòli, M. 2005. Legislation and Maintenance of Public Order and Civil Life by Occupying Powers. European Journal of International Law16:4.10.1093/ejil/chi136Search in Google Scholar

Sassòli, M., A.Bouvier, and A.Quintin. 2011. How Does Law Protect in War?, 3rd ed., 139140. ICRC: Geneva.Search in Google Scholar

Schwenk, E. H. 1944–1945. Legislative Power of the Military Occupant under Article 43, Hague Regulations. Yale Law Journal54:2.Search in Google Scholar

Schlag, P. 2005. A Brief Survey of Deconstruction. Cardozo Law Review27:741.Search in Google Scholar

Sfard, M. 2009. The Price of Internal Legal Opposition to Human Rights Abuses. Journal of Human Rights Practice1:1.10.1093/jhuman/hun002Search in Google Scholar

Shamir, R. 1990. Landmark Cases and the Reproduction of Legitimacy: The Case of Israel’s High Court of Justice. Law & Society Review24:3.10.2307/3053859Search in Google Scholar

Shamgar, M. 1982. Legal Concepts and Problems of the Israeli Military Government – the Initial Stage. In Military Government in the Territories Administrated by Israel 1967–1980, the Legal Aspect, edited by M.Shamgar. The Harry Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law 13, 43. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University.Search in Google Scholar

Shany, Y. 2005. Capacities and Inadequacies: A Look at the Two Separation Barrier Cases. Israel Law Review38:230.10.1017/S0021223700012681Search in Google Scholar

Shapiro, M. 1981. Courts: A Comparative and Political Analysis, 1728. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.10.7208/chicago/9780226161341.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Shapiro, M., and A.Stone Sweet. 2002. On Law, Politics and Judicialization, 168169. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/0199256489.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Shehadeh, R. 1985. Occupier’s Law – Israel and the West Bank. Washington DC: Institute for Palestine Studies.Search in Google Scholar

Tilley, V. 2012. Beyond Occupation – Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. London: Pluto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Weill, S. 2007. The Judicial Arm of the Occupation: The Israeli Military Courts in the Occupied Territories. International Review of the Red Cross89:395420.10.1017/S1816383107001142Search in Google Scholar

Weill, S. 2014. The Role of National Courts in Applying International Humanitarian Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685424.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Weill, S. 2011. Reframing the Legality of the Israeli Military Courts –Military Occupation or Apartheid?. In Threat – Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel, edited by A.Baker & A.Matar, 141142. London: Pluto Press.Search in Google Scholar

Yesh Din, Y. 2007. Backyard Proceedings: The Implementation of Due Process Rights in the Military Courts in the Occupied Territories. Available at in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2015-1-29
Published in Print: 2015-7-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

Downloaded on 10.12.2023 from
Scroll to top button