The Legal Case for Israel
We have focused frequently on the lawfare strategy against Israel, advocated by people like Hastings College of Law Professor George Bisharat, which has been a primary focus of Palestinian political strategy ever since Israel put a halt to suicide bombings by building the security barrier.
Lawfare against Israel, however, is based on politics, not law, and is an attempt to delegitimize Israel since they can’t blow it up.
One of the best explanations of the legal and political background is presented in this video by Northwestern Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich. He puts the lie to the currently fashionable notion that the “1967 borders” have any legal or historical signficance, and demonstrates that Israel does not “illegally occupy” the West Bank. In fact, it was Jordan which illegally occupied the West Bank prior to 1967.
For further context see the write-up at Elder of Ziyon.
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It’s worth mentioning that the Arabs not only rejected the 1947 partition plan but had no intention of instituting it anyway.
I refer everyone to Ephraim Karsh’s excellent “Palestine Betrayed.” It has a lot of direct sources to support the general Israeli line but the one pertinent to this discussion is that when the Arab armies invaded mandatory Palestine their intention was to grab land, not set up an Arab state.
The Jordanians took as much as they could get. The Egyptians had several land goals in the area, one of which was the Negev. The Syrians intended to take as much of the Galilee as they could. Karsh’s sources confirm this; they are direct and in substantial part from Arab sources.
As should be pointed out more often,from 1949 to 1967 the Arabs could have set up this supposedly desperately needed Palestinian state whenever they liked, without needing to consult Israel at all.
A glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel might be glimpsed if the Palestinians were ever to realize that the rest of the Arabs don’t give a damn for them, seeing them only–and I mean “only”–as sticks to beat Israel and the west.
But this would require at least a tiny ability to engage in self-examination and self-reflection and this is something that Arab society tends not to have.
All human beings are semi-sentient ambulatory blobs of “earth”. Human beings and many other forms of life fight over spots on the earth’s crust. “Owning” land is a human construction, enforced and guarded by the ability and commitment to do so: Might makes right. Generally, people will band together to create Laws that they are “subject to” but afford “protections.” Such as, at a high level, the very muscular International Law.
But ultimately, what makes laws, contracts, constructs valid is that they are accepted and that they provide benefits to many who are “subject” to them. Like modern corporation law, Noam Chomsky notwithstanding, whose relatively recent ability or “intellectual construction” to be able to own intellectual property has generated many benefits to mankind.
So with the modern Israel. Its existence provides benefits – to the world – over what we’d have without it. Its utility and benefits to the world justify it. As long as enough continue to support it – for might and strength do ultimately make right.
[…] rights in lawfare against Israel, Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has brought us a brilliant video by Professor Eugene Kontorovich, an international law expert, who explains the legal case for […]
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