BOOK REVIEW: Beyond Occupation. Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories


Flouting international human rights law and international humanitarian law, Israel’s occupation of Palestine veers towards the illegal and illegitimate. Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Pluto Press, 2012) evaluates Israel’s belligerent occupation and violation of international law, with particular reference to colonialism and apartheid practices, as well as the international community’s alienation from doing anything concrete about Israel’s illegalities, thus ensuring the state’s strategy of establishing a deviating narrative.

Israel’s near-irrevocable occupation exhibits demographic control. Land purchase, forced displacement of Palestinians, political marginalisation and exclusion from labour created instability for Palestinians, who sought to form a culture of resistance to combat a collective construction of Jewish identity on occupied land. Zionism deconstructs the culture of resistance to “violence of the resistance”, thus obscuring its own illegal practices and oppression within the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).

Whilst international law provides general obligations for states to end colonialism and apartheid, enforcement is incongruous. Colonialism is not considered a crime and carries no individual criminal responsibility. Whilst international humanitarian law declares the occupying power’s responsibility towards “protected persons”, excluding Israelis, human rights law demands a general protection for people under its control. Israel has conveniently neglected international human rights law in order to preserve Jewish identity and promote a series of “peace talks” which are dominated with security concerns, thus diverting attention from the realities of colonialism and apartheid in the OPTs. Read more.


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