Introduction – Israel and Settlements

Introduction – Israel and Settlements

I would like to thank the Opinio Jurists for having me on board for this short blogging stint. I’ve previously written here about piracy and universal jurisdiction. There is something about the vestigial romance of piracy that makes people enjoy talking about it. It is a fun topic.

This time around I’ll be writing more about a topic that people certainly like to talk about, but could hardly be described as fun — Israeli settlements and international law. Given the intense feelings this topic generates, I hesitate to approach it; it is hard to have a genuinely academic discussion of the legal issues involved.

None the less, given that the question of Jewish communities in the West Bank has come to the fore given the Obama administration’s very high profile push for a settlement freeze, I thought I might try to explore it. One might ask what there is to say on the subject — the consensus amongst international lawyers is overwhelming that pretty much everything Israel is doing in the West Bank is illegal and must somehow be “reversed.” However, the certitude with which this position is advanced, and the lack of nuance, seems to me unwarranted given the ambiguity of the underlying legal texts. The legality of Israeli presence/settlements seems at least “complicated,” and the question of what to do with the “facts on the ground” once they are there even more so.

Some topics I  hope to explore might include:

1) The International Law of Illegal Immigrants and Reliance Interests

2) Applicability of Geneva Conventions and the Meaning of Transfer

3) Ethic cleansing and remedies for violation of anti-transfer rule.

4) Natural Growth and the Genocide Convention

But it is summer, and I’m hardly an expert in these questions, so I doubt I’ll get to all of it. Especially if I manage to squeeze in some pirates as I hope to also do.


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