Monday, December 3, 2012

Legally, Are New Apartments Fatal Blows to Peace?

Nadene Goldfoot
Abbas went through with his threat of going to the UN to get special recognition of observer status.  Netanyahu went through with his threat of announcing that his government will build 3,000 housing units in a suburb of Jerusalem, the El corridor, an undeveloped plot of land between Mt. Scopus, home of Hebrew University, and Maale Adumim, a Jewish neighborhood.  .  The capitals of Europe are having fits that Israel is doing this in their own capital.  British foreign Minister William Hague (b: 1961) said that Israeli "settlements are illegal under international law."  He's a graduate of Oxford in Philosophy, politics and economics, but I didn't see law listed.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (b: 1947) , Yale Law School graduate,  joins Hague in this legal dispute.  Her interests were in children and medicine.

Israel has tried to get peace terms with the Palestinian Arabs for 64 years to no avail.  They still refuse to come to the table.  Israel feels it has every right to build on their own land.  The Arabs have been coveting all of Jerusalem, and right now say they intend to make East Jerusalem their capital, but to their people they broadcast that soon "Jerusalem" will be theirs.    East Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jordanians illegally in the first place.  Now Jerusalem is whole again with one mayor.

Argument Against Building

1. Palestinians want their future state to have geographic contiguity with defined borders and a functioning government.  Borders of Maale Adumim stretch out into the Judean desert to just a few miles from Jericho to the north and the Dead Sea to the south.  They say it will cut off the northern West Bank from the southern West Bank.
2. "Settlements are illegal under international law."  statement from foreign Minister Hague.  

Argument for Building

1. This is not "Palestinian Land". There was never a state or country of Palestine.  It was Judea, taken over by Romans and ultimately in the hands of the Ottoman Empire who left it as a wasteland.
2. Jordan took Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem illegally.
2. By looking at the map one can see this above argument is ridiculous.  Unless Israel plans to vacate Maale Adumim, city of 39,000 people in a peace deal which is not in the works, the neighborhood will need to be connected to the rest of Israel.
3.  "After King Hussein’s disastrous decision to ally himself with Egypt’s Nasser during the prelude to June 1967, Jordan was evicted from the lands it had stolen in 1948. This ultimately led King Hussein  to disavow any further claim to the lands he had lost in 1967. Eventually, this stance was formalized on July 31, 1988.

4. "Eugene Rostow (1913-2002), former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered “unallocated territory,” once part of the Ottoman Empire. From this perspective, Israel, rather than simply “a belligerent occupant,” had the status of a “claimant to the territory.  To Rostow, “Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate,” a right he declared to be “unchallengeable as a matter of law.”

This argument against building was decimated 10 years ago by Julius Stone (1907-1985), English- born professor of Jurisprudence and international law, last at Hastings College of Law at University of California.  .  David Phillips, from NE University School of Law, a law professor and author of Commentary article below,  comes to the same legal conclusions. So did Eugene Rostow.

The conclusion that these eminent law professors came to was that Hague's cut and dry statement would be incorrect.  What is a fatal blow for peace is to take such a position that building homes equates war.  What creates war is not coming to the peace table to iron out difficulties and be determined to live in peace with one's adversary.

Alan Dershowitz (b: 1938), Harvard lawyer and author said that peace could be had if there is a "renunciation of all forms of violence, including terrorism, and an undertaking by the Palestinian state to dismantle terrorist groups and take all reasonable efforts to prevent acts of terrorism, just as Israel has undertaken to prevent and punish Jewish terrorism against Palestinains.  Then, and only then could there ever be a division of greater Jerusalem, with the Arab part becoming the capital of the Palestinian state and the Jewish part the recognized capital of Israel. "   It looks like that day is not on the horizon.  

Resource : by Prof. David M. Phillips
Book: The Case For Peace-how the Arab-Israeli conflict can be resolved by Alan Dershowitz page 2

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