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International humanitarian law, ICRC and Israel’s status in the Territories

31-12-2012 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 888, by Alan Baker


This article discusses contentions voiced by ICRC President Maurer in a speech on ‘Challenges to humanitarian action in contemporary conflicts: Israel, the Middle East and beyond’, developed in the form of the article in this issue of the International Review of the Red Cross.

It discusses challenges to international humanitarian law in situations where one party violates humanitarian norms, and questions some ICRC contentions and assumptions regarding the status of the West Bank territories, the status of Israel-Palestinian agreements, the status of the Gaza Strip, the concept of ‘occupation’, Israel’s settlement policy, Israel’s separation barrier, East Jerusalem, and concludes with a discussion of ICRC policies of confidentiality, as opposed to public engagement.


Alan Baker is the former legal adviser of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former ambassador of Israel to Canada. He previously served in the international law division of Israel’s Military Advocate General’s Corps, handling issues of international humanitarian law and relations with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He is presently director of the Institute for contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Institute for Public Affairs.