Applying Israeli Law to Part of the West Bank Will Not Block a Peace Agreement

(Newsweek) Prof. Avi Bell - Israel is expected to apply its civilian law to roughly half of Area C of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), which it governs under a power-sharing agreement made with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) 25 years ago. Area C is where almost half-a-million Israelis reside alongside a much smaller number of Palestinians. After 53 years, military rule of the affected areas will end and residents' needs will be better met under ordinary civilian governance. Residents will no longer be subject to the antiquated mix of Ottoman, Mandatory British, Jordanian and military rules that confound even the simplest transactions. Opponents note that international law forbids annexation justified by conquest of sovereign territory of another state. These critics assume the PLO is a state, though it meets none of the conditions of international law, erase the history of the League of Nations designating the West Bank for a Jewish homeland, pretend the PLO received sovereign title of the West Bank from Jordan's illegal conquest and annexation of the territory in 1948, and misinterpret Israel's application of its civilian law to part of Area C as an attempt to gain sovereignty over another country's territory. A Palestinian state and a peace agreement are still possible, but not inevitable, whether Israel applies its law to part of Area C or not. The Palestinians need to end their maximalism and 11-year boycott of negotiations, stop funding terrorism, accept the right of the Jewish people to their state, and get ready for some hard compromises. If the Palestinians are ready, they will find an Israel that is ready for peace, and a U.S. administration eager to broker the "deal of the century." The writer, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and Bar-Ilan University, is a senior fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

2020-06-23 00:00:00

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