Israel’s Forty-Five Year Emergency: Are There Time Limits to Derogations from Human Rights Obligations?

This article analyzes the permissibility of such a derogation under the Covenant and under general international law. Part I of this article outlines the historical development of Israel’s declaration of a continuous state of emergency and its justification for detention without trial. Part II examines international rules on detention and derogation. Part III establishes a standard for declaring a state of emergency and applies this standard to Israel’s declaration, with respect both to Israel’s own territory and to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. Finally, Part IV inquires whether Israel will apply the Covenant as a matter of domestic law.