DQ again. Thank you all very much for taking the time and effort to educate me on Israel’s rights to the occupied territories. Having only a vague notion that Israel’s borders were larger in the first proposals for its creation, I had (and still have) much to learn.
But, perhaps not surprisingly, the explanations raise as many questions as they answer. It’s clear that 2,000 years ago, or 80 years ago, Israel would have had a strong claim to the occupied territories. But it appears Israel was actually created in 1948 by a UN resolution (181?) which defined its borders as the pre-1967 borders. Do I have that right? Israel accepted this resolution. By accepting this resolution, it would seem to the uninformed (me) that Israel gave up any claim to sovereignty over any territory outside of those borders.
The only answer to this I’ve seen in the explanations I’ve read is that this resolution had no force because the Arabs rejected it. But since when do UN resolutions have no force if one party rejects them? Or was acceptance by all sides a condition of the resolution itself? Even so, under normal legal principles (if there is any such thing) by accepting the resolution and establishing a country under it, Israel would be estopped to deny its efficacy. What am I missing here?
If Israel did accept the resolution, then, before the war in 1967, it was making no claim to the territories. It made such a claim only after it physically occupied them. Even then, as several commenters pointed out, it did not annex them. In the earliest days, it appeared ready to bargain some or all of them away for recognition and assurances of peace. It continued to physically occupy them (though it did give some of them back as a part of certain deals). Why is the term “occupied territories” not appropriate?
Perhaps sovereignty over the territories could fairly be called disputed if Israel was attempt to annex them and actively disputing dominion over them. But Israel appears not to be doing that. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but Amanpour seemed to accurately portray a serious debate within Israel itself. Some Israelis want to settle the occupied territories and, presumably, eventually annex them to Israel. Since some of the writers appear to share this view, perphaps you can help me understand why Israel’s acceptance of the UN resolution does not defeat such a claim. Other Israelis want to trade land for peace and do not want to annex the occupied territories.
If Israel has never annexed the land, and isn’t even sure it wants to do so, what can any commentator do but describe the land as currently physically occupied by Israel, but not a part of Israel? It’s not “disputed territory” if Israel is not, as a nation, even putting in a claim for it.
In my limited understanding, I don’t see where it makes any difference whether Jordon at one time occupied and annexed the territories or whether the Arabs rejected the resolution. The Arabs do all assert some sort of Arab dominion over the West Bank, perhaps with the details of how it is to be governed to be left up to the Arabs. They certainly assert that Israel should not have dominion over that territory. Israel does not appear to fumdamentally disagree, since, while it continues to occupy the territory, it does not attempt to annex it and even goes so far as to send troops in to destroy certain settlements there. And, of course, Israel seems ready to bargain much of it away (as they were prepared to do in at least one rejected deal).
So what should the territories, and the West Bank especially, be called if not occupied territories? More important than names, what does Israel want to happen to this territory? Or is this question even answerable, given the division within Israel itself?
That you all for your patience with me and I hope this discussion is as helpful and informative to many readers as it is to me. I’d appreciate your help.Email This Post To A Friend
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