Squaring the circle: Settler colonialism, the international law of occupation and the separation barrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) is highly invested in maintaining a façade of adherence to International Law (IL) in Israel's continuous occupation of the West Bank, and in mitigating the contradictions and complexities in Israel's implementation of this law. Our paper proposes a unique legal-geographical perspective to the analysis of this dynamic, while anchoring the critique of the HCJ's work within an understanding of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank as a settler colonial project. Empirically, we focus on the Court's evolving jurisprudence in relation to the inclusion of expansion plans for the Jewish settlements in the routing of the separation barrier. Through a close reading of the legal texts, we demonstrate how the Court strove to subject the settler colonial logic of permanent spatial transformation and settlement expansion into the IL's imperatives of temporality and conservation. Through this case-study we propose a nuanced empirical and methodological approach to the study of contemporary settler colonial legalities. This approach focuses on the intertwinement of everyday professional practices of space and law in order to unravel the weaving of settler colonial logics into contemporary imperatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102929
JournalPolitical Geography
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • International law of occupation
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Jewish settlements in the west bank
  • Legal geography
  • Settler colonial legalities
  • The separation barrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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