(From the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law)
The petition challenged the legality of two military decrees designed to facilitate the removal of unauthorised Jewish outposts in the West Bank. The decrees authorise military commanders to bar the presence of individuals in areas containing unauthorised buildings and to clear all unauthorised structures. According to the petitioners, the decrees are discriminatory (i.e., directed only against Jewish settlers) and are in breach of the duties of the military commander under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations to refrain from altering local legislation.
The court rejected the petition and held that the distinction between Israelis and Palestinians is permissible in the light of the different nature of their respective violations of building and zoning laws and the differences in the applicability of Israeli law to their conduct (Israeli law has been applied to several aspects of the settlers’ lives; hence, they are already subject to a different legal regime than the Palestinians in the area). As for Article 43, the court noted that the commander may resort to new legislation if he is prevented from restoring law and order on the basis of the pre-existing law in the territories.