By Ted Belman –
Attorney Elyakim Haetzni, a former Knesset Member and an influential nationalist pundit, thinks Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas has outmaneuvered Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel is in danger of losing more ground in the diplomatic chess game with the PA.
Until now, Haetzni explained, Israel has not been defined as an occupier, according to the Geneva convention. This could change now, however.
“The greatest jurists have always said that in the Six Day War, Israel did not occupy Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, because they had never belonged to another sovereign. There was never a Palestinian state, Jordan had invaded illegally, and before that, there were the British and the Turks.
“Judge Edmond Levy determined in his famous report that this is not occupied territory but disputed territory and therefore the international conventions do not apply to it. Now Abbas wants to change the picture. After the UN recognized the PA as a state, one can no longer claim that there is no sovereign power demanding its territory back. This is a Palestinian state that received a majority of UN votes, and therefore all of the international laws on occupation and all of the treaties apply to it.”
I disagree. The world considers Israel an occupier and the settlements illegal according to the Geneva Convention so I don’t know where Haetzni is coming from. On the other hand if the Levy Report wins the day and defines Israel not an occupier and the settlements not illegal, then subsequent events to the ’67 War have no bearing in a legal sense but do so only in Court of world public opinion.
The problem starts with so many nations recognizing Palestine as a state, contrary to all the rules governing state recognition as set out in the Montevideo Convention of 1933.
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
I might ad that there is an ongoing debate as to whether recognition by other states is a necessary part of being a state or whether satisfying these criteria alone makes you a state regardless of recognition.
In any event, having a defined or distinct territory is a necessary ingredient. Obviously the PA doesn’t have such a territory unless Area A is what we are talking about. To be a state you must be able to exercise sovereignty over your defined territory or you can’t be a state.
I am sure the majority of nations will define Palestine’s territory as being the entire West Bank to the ’67 lines and will ignore the need to be sovereign over it. What Haetzni is saying is that such recognition will be applied ex post facto, thereby making Israel an occupier of Palestinian lands. Its a stretch but everything …read more