Introduction to International Law Violations by Israel

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With the strong support and collaboration of a number of multinational corporations, Israel has violated many international laws and has consistently denied millions of Palestinians the basic human rights to which they are entitled under international law. The City of Portland should not invest in companies that reap profits from violations of international law and denial of human rights.

Below are just some of the many ways that Israel has violated international law and denied to Palestinians the basic human rights to which they are entitled:

  • It is illegal under international law to acquire land by force. Israel annexed land occupied by force in 1948 and 1967 and is taking natural resources such as water and minerals from that land for its own use and economic benefit. (U.N. Charter, Article 2(4) & 51; Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations, Principle 1).


  • It is illegal to colonize occupied land or transfer non-indigenous population to that land. Immediately following the 1967 War, Israel began building Jewish-only civilian settlements on Palestinian lands, eventually settling 650,000 settlers there, while also displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their legally owned lands. This is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Article 49(6).Practicing ethnic cleansing is illegal, but Israel has taken Palestinian land and forced many hundreds of thousands off their land while preventing any of the displaced people the right to return. Forbidding civilian populations the right to return to their homes following the end of armed conflict is in direct violation of international law and UN resolutions. Geneva Convention IV, Articles 45, 46 & 49 (1949), UN resolutions 194 (III) (General Assembly; 1948) & 237 (Security Council; 1967).Israel is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted 1990) through detention, interrogation and imprisonment of juveniles without due process and without regard for their age. Practices include arrest without notifying parents of where their child is taken, harsh and prolonged interrogations without a lawyer present and in the child’s non-native language, torture and abuse, and solitary confinement. The most common offense for which Palestinian children are arrested is stone throwing.
  • Israel has a formal system of legalized discrimination against Palestinians which technically fits the official UN definition of Apartheid which is considered to be a crime against humanity. The law violated is the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976).
  • Israel has violated the human rights of Palestinians in significant and numerous ways, including arrest and administrative detention without charges of both adults and children as young as nine years of age, torture, land confiscation, harassment at checkpoints, disruption of free movement, destruction of homes, uprooting trees, killing livestock and implementing military law for Palestinians while Israeli Jewish civilians enjoy civilian protections.   Laws violated include: U.N. Charter, Article 1 (1945); Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations, Principle 5 (1970)

Companies that collaborate with and support these Israeli violations of human rights and international law should be on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List under its Socially Responsible Investing Policy, which includes concerns for human rights among its criteria.