Article 55 of the Hague Convention (IV) regarding the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land of 18 October 1907 state that: ‘The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct’.
However, I understand that, following a petition by human rights organisation Yesh Din, the Israeli Supreme Court has recently decided (ruling HCJ 2164/09) that Article 55 does not require the occupying power to ‘safeguard the capital’ of the occupied party’s natural resources and that Israel’s use of quarries is limited and does not amount to destroying capital. In addition, the court decided to take into account the fact that the West Bank had been under a prolonged and continuing occupation, so that the territory’s economic development could not wait until the occupation ended.
1. Is the Vice-President/High Representative aware of this judgment?
2. Does the Vice-President/High Representative share the Israeli Court’s interpretation of this international convention?
3. What representations, if any, have been made on behalf of the EU regarding this judgment?