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Extract from September 2003 report "Israel and the Occupied Territories: Survving under siege"
According to international law, an occupying power is required to administer the territory it controls as far as possible without making far-reaching changes to the existing order, while at the same time ensuring the protection of the fundamental rights of the inhabitants of the occupied territory. The core idea of the international rule of belligerent occupation is that occupation is transitional, for a limited period, and one of its key aims is to enable the inhabitants of an occupied territory to live as "normal" a life as possible.

The duties of an occupying power include:
- treating the occupied population humanely at all times (Article 27, IV Geneva Convention);
- ensure the food and medical supplies of the occupied population (Article 55, IV Geneva Convention);
- ensure and maintain the medical services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, and ensuring that medical personnel of all categories can carry out their duties (Article 56, IV Geneva Convention);
- allow and facilitate relief for the occupied population (Article 59, IV Geneva Convention).
Relief provided by others in no way relieves the occupying power of any of its responsibilities under Articles 55, 56 and 59 (Article 61, IV Geneva Convention).

An occupying power may NOT:
- use collective punishment or intimidation against the occupied population (Article 33, IV Geneva Convention);
- forcibly transfer inhabitants of the occupied territory to its territory or elsewhere nor transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies (Article 49, IV Geneva Convention);
- take measures aiming at creating unemployment or at restricting employment opportunities in the occupied territory, in order to induce the occupied population to work for the occupying power (Article 52, IV Geneva Convention);
- destroy private or public property, except where absolutely necessary for military operations (Article 53, IV Geneva Convention);
- appropriating private or public property or natural resources, for which the occupying power shall be regarded only as administrator (Article 55, Hague Regulations).

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