Wednesday, June 17, 2009

International law on settlements gets recognition in Washington Post

Here at the US Campaign, we often feel like we're fighting an uphill battle just to get the political establishment in Washington, DC to admit that there is such a thing as international law, much less to respect it. So we're glad to see Glen Kessler of the Washington Post drawing attention to a 1979 State Department ruling on the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law (thanks to the folks at Mondoweiss for this catch):
"Thirty years ago, the State Department legal adviser issued an opinion in response to an inquiry from Congress: The establishment of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories 'is inconsistent with international law.' The opinion cited Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an occupying power 'shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.'"
Of course, international law isn't dependent on a State Department ruling, and even if this ruling didn't exist, there would still be plenty of UN Security Council resolutions and rulings by international bodies on this issue. Nevertheless, kudos to Kessler for digging this one out of the archives. International law is important as a universally recognized framework that applies to all people, everywhere. To learn more about international law as it applies to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, click here. Click here to learn about international law concerning apartheid, and how it applies in Israel/Palestine. If you're really serious about this stuff, check out this new report from the Human Sciences Resource Council of South Africa on international law regarding occupation and colonialism in the occupied Palestinian territories. (It's 300 pages. Not for the feint-of-heart). Most importantly (we might be a bit biased), click here to support the US Campaign's ongoing work of challenging U.S. government and corporate policies that violate international law and human rights in Israel and Palestine.