Apartheid, international law, and the occupied palestinian territory: A reply to John Dugard and John Reynolds

Yaffa Zilbershats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


I accept the authors' premise in their article entitled 'Apartheid, International Law, and the Occupied Palestinian Territory' that apartheid, as practised in the former South African regime, remains today a crime against the law of nations applicable to states practising a similar regime. The obligation of a state and its officials to refrain from practising any policy of apartheid is considered a jus cogens norm under international law. Whoever practises apartheid bears international criminal responsibility and may be put on trial for committing that crime, either in any state in the world based on universal jurisdiction or before the International Criminal Court. However, the very gravity of the crime requires that accusations of apartheid be made with the greatest caution. The accusation that Israel practises apartheid against the Palestinian population in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza is unfounded and based on gross errors. In this article I expand on two of these errors - the failure to differentiate between the norms governing occupied and sovereign territory, and the authors' complete failure to address Israel's policies in the context of an armed conflict characterized by the Palestinians' use of terror. As I show, once the authors' errors are exposed and considered, it is clear that Israel's actions cannot be considered a basis for the crime of apartheid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-928
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of International Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


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