Practice Relating to Rule 51. Public and Private Property in Occupied Territory
Section C. Private property in occupied territory
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004, Jordan stated:
5.230 The construction of the wall has two major impacts on the rights of the inhabitants of the occupied Palestinian territories including in and around East Jerusalem to enjoy the effective ownership of their land and property. First, the construction of the wall requires that a strip of land, on average some 50–70 metres wide, be taken away from its owners and put at the disposal of the occupying authorities; second, the existence of the wall prevents the inhabitants of the area being able to attend to their properties which lie on the other side of the wall from that on which they reside.
5.231 These consequences fall to be assessed in the light of the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, considered also with the general principles of international law governing the expropriation of property.
5.232 Article 23(g) of the Hague Regulations makes it
“especially forbidden … (g) to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”.
5.233 If this rule is applicable during the conduct of armed conflict, it will apply a fortiori in times of occupation; nor can it be used to justify the seizure or destruction of property by the Israeli authorities, for the occupation has not yet ended …
5.237 Notwithstanding the clear content and purport of the applicable rules of international law, the Government of Israel has engaged and continues to engage in policies and practices of expropriation and destruction of property, both generally and in relation to the wall.
5.251 The expropriation of Palestinian land is not only unlawful according to international humanitarian law and the regime applicable to occupation, but also by reference to international standards protecting the rights and interests of property owners.
5.252 The responsibility of the State of Israel for the expropriation and denial of effective ownership arises from the fact that it exercises control over Palestinian territory. Although Israel has at times stated that its actions in respect to property have resulted in no change of ownership, in practice the consequences are equivalent to a denial of all the proprietary rights normally incidental to ownership.
5.253 This is clear, when Israeli actions are compared with international standards governing liability for expropriation, whether under general international law, or within specific treaty regimes.
[emphasis in original]