International law is meant to provide a modicum of protection to people who are otherwise defenseless. While Israel is subject to international law in its actions in the Occupied Territories, it relies on convoluted legal argumentation to circumvent these duties. The result is dispossession, oppression, abuse and killing. This harm is made possible by a hollow, formalistic interpretation of rules expressly designed to avert such injuries. Instead of adopting international law as its moral compass, Israel cynically uses it as a manual for systemic human rights violations.
The route of the Separation Barrier, 85% of which runs inside the West Bank, has laid the groundwork for the de-facto annexation of most settlements and much land for their future expansion. The barrier broke up contiguous Palestinian urban and rural blocs, severed inter-community ties forged over generations, and abruptly imposed an arbitrary reconfiguration of space based on settlement boundaries and to suit the convenience of Israeli security forces. This follows Israel’s longstanding policy of using the West Bank to serve its own needs, while disregarding the needs and rights of Palestinians.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.