Israel-Palestine: News

Responsibility Under International Law for Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

8 July 2024

Settler violence in the West Bank occurs against the backdrop of an already illegal settlement enterprise and creeping annexation of Palestinian territory, for which Israel is responsible under international law.

Since the Hamas attacks on 7 October 2023 and the launch of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, incidents of settler violence have reached record levels. The apparent impunity with which this violence is perpetrated, alongside emergent reports of Israeli security forces’ involvement in some of the incidents, raise critical questions about Israel’s responsibility also for the harm, damage, and displacement caused by settler violence.

Addressing these questions, this publication concludes that Israel bears international responsibility for breach of several of its positive and negative obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law in relation to acts of settler violence, triggering secondary remedial obligations. The publication also considers potential individual liability under international criminal law for persons implicated in incidents of settler violence, in view of the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

COVER PHOTO: Wahaj Bani Moufleh/ActiveStills Photo Collective (Destruction following a settler attack that killed four Palestinians, Qusra, West Bank, 11 October 2023). All Rights Reserved.