SIR – Living under brutal occupation for almost half a century without any prospect for its end, the Palestinian people, particularly in Jerusalem, have, since late September 2015, embarked on new mass protests against the latest Israeli incursions on their holy sites and revolted once again against the ceaseless occupation. As a consequence, the Israeli army, aided by thousands of armed settlers roaming the West Bank, have intensified their use of violence, which resulted in over 100 deaths, 2,200
injuries, and 4,000 arrests in less than two months.
The Israeli army and the settlements-based armed gangs, though forbidden under international law and the Geneva conventions, have regularly employed various violent means in order to force Palestinian exile or compel submission to the occupation. The Israeli harsh tactics include: settler violence and provocation under full army protection, targeting children, including kidnapping, killing, as well as arresting children as young as five, burning infants alive, the constant use of collective punishment and house demolitions, the use of excessive prison sentences for any act of defiance including throwing rocks, storming revered religious sites, and the deliberate targeting of journalists who dare to challenge Israeli hegemony.
The Palestinian people, whether under occupation or under siege, in exile and blocked by Israel from returning to their homes, or denied their right to self-determination, have the legitimate right to resist the military occupation and its manifestations such as the denial of their freedom and human rights, the confiscation of their lands, or the building and expansion of Israeli colonies on their lands. Although most Palestinians
opt for the use of non-violent resistance as a prudent tactic against the brutality of the occupation, international law does not, however, limit their resistance only to the use of peaceful means.
In essence, the right to legitimate armed resistance, subject to international humanitarian law, is enshrined in international law and cannot be denied to any people including the Palestinians in their struggle to gain their freedom and exercise their right to self-determination. Furthermore, international law does not confer any right on the occupying power to use any force against their occupied subjects, in order to maintain and sustain their occupation, including in self-defence.
In short, aggressors and land usurpers are by definition denied the use of force to subjugate their victims.