The Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Houses in the Occupied Territories: An Analysis of its Legality in International Law

The recent Palestinian uprising in the Israeli Occupied Territories, otherwise known as the Intifadah, has brought greater attention to Israel’s security measures. Specifically, the Intifadah has raised questions of the efficacy and legality of Israel’s attempts to control the local population by means criticized by many as overly heavy-handed. One such practice employed by the Israelis is the demolition or sealing of houses in which a resident is believed to have committed a political or violent act against the interests of the State of Israel. The intent of this paper is to examine the legality of the destruction of houses in the Occupied Territories under the relevant articles of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949 [Geneva Convention IV] (hereinafter the Fourth Geneva Convention).