On Tuesday, Israeli troops entered the West Bank city of Jenin to apprehend the terrorist who murdered Hallel and Yagel Yaniv on February 6. As often happens during such raids, they were drawn into a shoot-out, resulting in deaths of the warranted terrorist and five of his associates. The wave of terror over the past year has made such incidents frequent; Akiva Van Koningsveld examines their permissibility under international law:
International law is not “law” in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, it is a combination of treaties and agreements between and among numerous sovereign nations and other subjects of international law. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the relevant agreements are the Oslo Accords, a series of interim arrangements forged in the 1990s between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Crucially, the IDF’s withdrawal from [parts of the West Bank] was conditioned on the Palestinian leadership vowing to fight terrorism and incitement to hatred. . . . International law, specifically the Vienna Convention—which codifies universal rules governing treaties—embraces the principle that international agreements are reciprocal. Accordingly, if the Palestinian Authority (PA) refuses to act against incessant terrorism emanating from areas under its control in a way that constitutes a “material breach,” . . . Israel would likely be entitled to suspend “in whole or in part” its redeployment from parts of the West Bank.
It is safe to say that the PA’s record of compliance with the Oslo Accords, which are binding agreements under international law, has been poor in recent years, likely to the point where it justifies Israeli countermeasures in accordance with the Vienna Convention. [By contrast], the Israeli government has a duty to act against terror groups in the West Bank. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted by the United Nations, makes it clear that nations should protect the safety and welfare of their own citizens.