Why Settlements are illegal

The settlement of Ariel. Photo: Keren Manor, Activestills.org, 24 Jan. 2008

International humanitarian law is very clear that occupation must only be temporary; the Israeli settlements are in direct violation of this principle. For instance, the settlements are in breach of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupier from transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies. Additionally, according to Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, the occupying power’s role is to safeguard occupied properties and maintain the status quo.

As the international development organization Diakonia explains, the construction of settlements violates this article because of the major changes it inflicts upon the occupied territory. And, according to Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, the occupying power must uphold order and safety while respecting the laws of the occupied country. Yet as Diakonia also explains, the settlements actually undermine public order and violate existing laws.

See also the following pages from the B’tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) website: