Publication Details

Rose, G. L. (2014). Why Julie Bishop is wise not to judge Israeli settlements illegal. The Conversation, (11 February), 1-5.

Link to publisher version (URL)

The Conversation


There was once consensus that the earth is flat. Similarly, the international legal situation of Israeli settlements is flatly said to be criminal. The truth is different and more complex.

Ben Saul’s recent article on the “dirty politics of Israel’s criminal colonial enterprise” was passionate in its hostility to Israeli settlements but its legal arguments were lacklustre. He declared the existence of 50 years of consensus among the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and the International Court of Justice concerning the illegality of the settlements, but there has never been such a thing.

Urban construction by Israelis in the area known as the “West Bank” began in the 1970s and now cover about 2% of the territory. Opinion concerning the legality of these Jewish settlements varies across experts and also across particular buildings.