Israel is the legal owner of all lands west of the Jordan River, as the San Remo Resolution of 1920, The Palestine Mandate of 1922 and Section 80 of the United Nations Charter prove.
After the Six Day War in 1967, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) weighed in with Resolution 242 to set the parameters for the achievement of peace among the Arab states in the area. The Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs published Understanding UN Security Council Resolution 242 which is the most definitive analysis of this resolution anywhere.
In it, the UNSC allowed Israel to remain in occupation of the acquired land until she had agreements with all the Arab states in the area for “secure and recognized boundaries.” But even then, she need not withdraw from all territories. Thus, Israel’s “occupation” cannot be considered as illegal as she has the permission of the Security Council to remain there.
It also called for “a just settlement of the refugee issue,” but did not make mention of a Palestinian people nor require a peace agreement with them, nor call for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Finally, it included one noteworthy recital: “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.…”
But there is no such principle in law. To the contrary, in a defensive war, which this undeniably was, the defender gets to keep the lands acquired. In any event, a recital is not an operative clause.
Recitals are meant as background only. Normally, one would expect that Israel’s legal rights would have been noted in a recital but they weren’t. Particularly so when this war, which was commenced in 1948, was all about terminating Israel’s existence. Surely, Israel’s legal rights should have been recited.
All subsequent peace efforts, including the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap to Peace 2005, were merely pathways to ending the Arab/Israel conflict according to Resolution 242.
Yet the international discourse today is all about Israel’s “illegal occupation” and the need to create a Palestinian state. No mention is made of Israel’s regal rights or the right to have “secure and recognized boundaries”. It’s all about the “oppressed Palestinians” and the “brutal Israelis”.
In my article, Since when did the Palestinians become entitled to a state?, I traced this development. It started in the Rogers Plan (1969) and was furthered in the Reagan Plan (1982) and the Oslo Accords. The Rogers Plan actually referred to these lands as “Arab territory occupied in the 1967 war.” which it wasn’t and isn’t.
Essentially the US State Department, egged on by Saudi Arabia, ignored the true meaning of Resolution 242 and called for the creation of a Palestinian State and Israel’s full withdrawal. The State Department never mentions Israel’s legal rights but is quick to mention Israel’s “illegal settlements” and “illegal occupation”.
Even the Abraham Accords and the peace agreements signed in accordance with them made no mention of either Israel’s legal rights or her right to insist on “secure boundaries”.
President Trump supported “secure boundaries” for Israel and so recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights as legitimate and warranted and went so far as to allow Israel to annex the Jordan Valley. Even so, he still allowed for a Palestinian state.
Robert L Meyer recently wrote 25 Years After Oslo: The Elephant in the Room. The elephant in the room is the Koran:
“The Koran, chapter 2, verse 191 states: “Drive them out from where they drove you out.”
“Islamic scholars universally have interpreted this verse to mean that once land becomes Islamic, by conquest or otherwise, it stays Islamic forever and that Muslims must drive out any non-Muslim government that takes power in a land once ruled under Islamic law.
“For these reasons, the exchange of Muslim “Land for Peace” with Israel simply is impossible under Islam.”
It is for this reason the Anwar Sadat demanded the return of “every square inch” of the Sinai in the Camp David Accords and Arafat turned down PM Barak’s offer made in 2000 of 97% of the land.
Going forward, Israel has announced its intention to annex the Jordan Valley, thereby achieving secure boundaries. The international hue and cry will be enormous.
The international community is quick to condemn Israel’s alleged violation of non-existing international laws while at the same time it ignores recognized international law cited in the first paragraph above.
The rule of law has become the misrule of law.