Don't Buy the "Annexation" Hype

(Wall Street Journal) Prof. Eugene Kontorovich - Applying Israeli civilian law to West Bank settlements wouldn't preclude peace or violate Palestinian rights. It is widely described as an Israeli "annexation." But annexation has a precise meaning in international law: the forcible incorporation by one state of the territory of another state. The land to which Israel seeks to apply its laws isn't legally the territory of any other state. Neither the U.S. nor the European Union recognizes the existence of a Palestinian state, and Israel's sovereign claim to the territory is superior to any other country's. Over the past 53 years, Jews have returned to Judea and Samaria, territories from which they had been ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians in 1949. After five decades of Palestinian rejectionism, it is hard to argue that the legal regulation of these communities must remain in limbo until a far-off peace deal is signed. Past peace efforts have been based on the morally repugnant and impractical assumption that the creation of a Palestinian state must be preceded by the expulsion of all Jews from its territory. The application of Israeli law wouldn't affect the treatment of Palestinians. In the West Bank, they would continue to be governed by the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli move may help bring the Palestinians to the table, as it would show Palestinian leaders that turning down negotiations weakens their hand. The writer is director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University Scalia Law School.

2020-06-24 00:00:00

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