Does your organisation or your visitors want to learn more about international humanitarian law (IHL) in the occupied Palestinian territory?
Part of Diakonia's work is also to inform and educate decision-makers and journalists in Sweden of IHL in order to improve their knowledge and understanding of the legal framwork for the purposes of their daily work. For this end, Diakonia organises visits to Israel and the oPt and conducts IHL briefings.
Diakonia IHL briefings
IHL briefings on international humanitarian law (IHL) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are regularly given by Diakonia to Swedish parliamentarians, EU parliamentarians as well as to journalists and non-governmental organisations that work in or visit Israel/Palestine.
Diakonia's IHL Program offers briefings about the ongoing violations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provides the tools for analysing the situation from an IHL-perspective.
Knowledge about IHL is useful for any organisation working with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, be it for advocacy purposes, discussions with local authorities (e.g. on humanitarian access) or for enhanced understanding of the multiple references to various sets of international law that is made in relation to the conflict.
The IHL-briefings take the form of educational sessions where a legal perspective on the situation on the ground is added to the political, humanitarian, religious or moral viewpoints so often raised in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Our presentations are always updated with the latest events.
Our briefings can be tailored to your needs, but in general consist of the following parts:
The basics of IHL
- What is international law? What is IHL? What are human rights?
- The difference between rules regulating when you can resort to war and the rules governing the war itself (jus ad bellum vs. jus in bello)
- What is Hague law? What is Geneva law? The difference between treaty and customary law?
- Are women specifically protected under IHL?
IHL in the oPt
- Is IHL applicable in the occupied Palestinian territory?
- What does the law say about occupation? When does it start and end? What is the legal status of Gaza - is it still occupied?
- What do the principles of distinction and proportionality mean? How can they be applied to relevant cases in Israel and the oPt?
- What is a legitimate military target? What is a "military advantage"? What is "military necessity"?
- Who is a civilian, who is a combatant? What is the protection for civilians taking direct part in the hostilities? Is there such a notion as "unlawful combatant"?
How to analyse specific policies on the ground under IHL?
- The legality of the settlements and their infrastructure?
- The legality of the Wall and its associated regime. What did the International Court of Justice say?
- The legality of house demolitions?
- The legality of Israeli military arrest operations in the oPt?
- The legality of actions by Palestinian armed groups, including suicide attacks and the launching of Qassam rockets against Israeli civilian targets?
- The legality of the movement restrictions (check-points, road blocks, earth mounds etc.)?
- What does collective punishment mean? What is the legal analysis of the current sanctions regime towards the Gaza Strip?
- What is the right to health care under IHL?
- Is administrative detention of Palestinian prisoners allowed for under IHL?
Who has responsibilities under IHL?
- Does the international community have legal responsibility in relation to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?
- Do armed groups have legal responsibilities?
- Do private companies have legal responsibilities?
The briefings are normally arranged for groups of 10-30 persons and lasts between 1-2 hours, but can be adapted to the needs of your organization. The briefings are held either in English or in Swedish.
The briefings can be held in Diakonia's regional office in Sheikh Jerrah, Jerusalem, or at your premises, if located in Israel/Palestine. We also arrange briefings in combination with field trips, where the participants are shown various IHL violations in the field (the West Bank) simultaneously with the legal analysis.
Briefings on a specific IHL-topic can be arranged for if notice is given well in advance.
Visits of parliamentarians and journalists
One of the purposes of these visits is to educate decision-makers in Sweden about the relevance of IHL to the political process. And to provide journalists with a legal tool for analysis in their reporting process. An example of a positive outcome of the parliamentary visits is the creation of the joint Israel/Palestine network in the Swedish Parliament, with a specific focus on IHL related matters.
Swedish Social Democrat party leader Mona Sahlin attending an IHL-briefing, September 2007. Photo: Aida Burnett-Cargill, Diakonia.