January 11, 2017 - Israel’s Borders Are Those Of The Pre-State Mandate, Legal Scholars Argue

News reports from the Middle East often refer to the “occupied West Bank”, as if that were the official name of that region, and to Israel’s “illegal settlements” on “Palestinian lands”.  International law is often cited as the basis of these criticisms.   With Resolution 2334, The UN Security Council – with the US going along – has endorsed that view, stating that any Israeli presence beyond the 1949 armistice line has “no legal validity.”  But that understanding of international law is wrong, write two leading authorities on international law in a recently published paper, Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris, and the Borders of Israel.


Writing in the Arizona Law Review, Abraham Bell and Eugene Kontorovich explain that under the widely accepted legal concept of uti possidetis juris, when a newly formed state emerges from a territory that did not have independence or sovereignty, it inherits the borders of that territory. The doctrine has been applied over many years, when nations emerged from colonies, and when independent countries replaced parts of the Soviet Union and its satellites.

Israel’s borders today are therefore the same as they were when statehood was declared in 1948, those of the Mandate for Palestine, which included Jerusalem, Gaza, and what later came to be known as the West Bank. Events that have occurred in the region since 1948 – such as peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan – have only reinforced Israel’s claim, the authors argue.


The paper can be viewed on line at: http://arizonalawreview.org/pdf/58-3/58arizlrev633.pdf

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