The credibility and effectiveness of humanitarian intervention has long been a topic of contention in both international law and international relations, especially in the wake of US invasions of several countries in the 1980s, at times on the pretext of protecting civilians and at others in order to preserve democracy, combat terrorism, or protect its citizens and interests. Controversy over the reality of humanitarian intervention intensified after the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003 ostensibly because it possessed weapons of mass destruction, only for the claim to later prove false. These and other incidents have fuelled widespread suspicion of most humanitarian interventions, specifically those undertaken without a mandate from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), due to the bad faith of the interventionists and the lack of just grounds for intervention, rendering it illegitimate.
Palestine is perhaps the most obvious example of the failure of humanitarian intervention. Since 1948, amid Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, its theft of Palestinians’ land, and their expulsion and replacement by Jewish settlers, the international community has failed to intervene to protect the people of Palestine and prevent the grave violations and crimes to which they are subjected. This would not have been possible without the complicity of the British government, the American administration, and some European governments, despite Israel’s failure to comply with its international obligations under the UN Charter and its disregard for all international resolutions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine and Resolution 194 on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, as well as its imposition of a settler colonial regime based on apartheid inside Israel, which was extended to the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967.