The Occupation Is a Political Matter, Not a Legal One

(Ha'aretz) Prof. Ruth Gavison - I understand the spirit of the occupation's opponents, Jews and Arabs, who have despaired of the chance to change the situation through politics and are therefore trying to turn the question of the occupation into a legal one (with the justification that the occupation is illegal and must end immediately) or one of human rights (with the justification that the Palestinians have the right not to live under occupation, so Israel must end it immediately). Such formulations create the impression that this isn't a political question but a legal obligation - or at least a moral obligation for Israel that justifies demands that it end the occupation immediately without conditions. But I think such a step is mistaken and dangerous. This step creates the impression that the conflict's just solution is only a matter of identifying the answer based on international law and human rights without referring to Israel's security, military and identity needs, or to the conditions required to provide a solution for these needs. Israel has the right and obligation not to act in a way that could expose it and its people to security and diplomatic risks, which must be reduced significantly in a binding agreement ending the occupation. The writer, an Israel Prize winner, is emeritus professor of law and holder of the Haim Cohen chair for human rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

2017-07-03 00:00:00

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