Israel annexing the Jordan Valley: Is it even legal?

A country’s borders are determined in accordance with the borders of the previous legal political entity in that area. In Judea and Samaria, that entity was the British Mandate whose borders of the stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River (Kontorovich, 2018).

Less than 24 hours after Israel declared its independence on May 15 1948 after the British absconded in confusion, the regular armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded the country.

Here are the borders of the Jewish state, nicknamed the “Auschwitz borders”, per the 1947 Partition Plan which the Jews accepted:

The fighting lasted some 15 months and claimed over 6,000 Israeli lives (nearly one percent of the country’s Jewish population at the time; 60,000 Jewish lives in 2019 numbers….).

By early 1949, an armistice was agreed upon and Israel’s borders looked like this:

Here, Egypt illegally occupied land slated for the (undeclared) second arab state, and Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria, land also slated for the (undeclared) arab state in addition to Transjordan.

Between 1949-1967, the ICRC’s Hague Regulations/ 4th Geneva Convention seemed to have no problem with either Egypt or Jordan’s disregard of Article 42 of the said 1907 Hague Regulations where Article 42 of the Regulations, falling under a category titled, “Military Authority Over the Territory of the Hostile State” stated that land taken in war was illegally occupied.

In other words, the ICRC, which was pretty quick to brand Israel’s acquisition of the territory in 1967 as an “occupation,” made no such appellation during the 19 years of illegal Jordanian rule.

That land only became “occupied” when Israel reclaimed the territory in the 1967 Six Day War.

With regard to Israel’s proposed annexation of the settlements in the Jordan Valley, there should be no issue with any possible “criminality” re the ICC as Bob (Jerusalem Post, 11 September, 2019) has stated, because the ex iniuria principle [unjust acts cannot create law] means that Jordan has never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. This because where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.

As Prof. Eugene Rostow, former US undersecretary of state for political affairs, wrote in 1991: “The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there.”

Further, Israel is engaged in an armed conflict short of war in Judea and Samaria.

This is not a civilian disturbance or a demonstration or a riot.  This includes live-fire attacks on a significant scale, both quantitatively and geographically—around 2,700 such attacks over the entire area of the West Bank. The attacks are carried out by a well-armed and organised militia, under the command and encouragement of the Palestinian political establishment, operating from areas outside Israeli control.

In repulsing those attacks, Israel has acted within the parameters of Article 51 of the UN Charter. Article 51 of the UN Charter clearly recognizes “the inherent right of individual orcollective self-defence” by anyone. That is, the language of Article 51 does not identifyor stipulate the kind of aggressor or aggressors against whom this right of self-defencecan be exercised … and certainly does not limit the right to self-defence to attacks by States!

Organisations like the ICJ/UN ignore repeated acts of terrorism from ‘Palestine’ because they conveniently posit that they emanate from “non-State” entities (ie because Israel does not claim that the attacks by Palestinian terrorists against it are attributable to a foreign “State,” it loses its right to act in self-defence.…). However, Article 51 of the UN Charter is quite clear: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations…”

The ICJ/UN also biases its deliberations against Israel in Judea by ignoring the fact that Palestinian warfare is “Strictly regulated by the customs and provisions of the law of armed conflict, referred to here as international humanitarian law (IHL)” as well as by ignoring the Palestinian Authority (PA) violations of their assumed responsibility, such as the Oslo Accords, that required the Palestinians to abide by internationally recognized human rights standards.

Israel’s right to self-defence under Article 51 cannot be more apparent according to bothinternational humanitarian law and the ‘Oslo Accord.’

I would like here to add that Article 5, paragraph 3, of UN GA Resolution 3314 support the case to annex the Jordan Valley to minimise aggression and violence from Palestinian terrorists. It states that “No territorial acquisition or special advantage resulting from aggression is or shall be recognized as lawful (italics mine).”

Clearly, Israel in Judea and Samaria today is not the consequence of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians or the Arab League. Arab countries acted aggressively against Israel in 1948 and 1967. Israel was not the aggressor in either the 1948 War of Independence or in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel is engaged in an armed conflict short of war in Judea and Samaria, though it is not one of Israel’s making or choosing.

Israel should annex/ apply sovereignty/apply Israeli law (take your pick, the outcome is mostly the same despite semantic differences…) to Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley because, in line with UNGA Resolution 2625, Israel’s presence in Judea is lawful per the interpretation of Article 51 of the UN’s own Charter because illegal Arab aggression against the territorial integrity, political independence civilian security of Israel cannot be rewarded.

Palestinian terrorism is an act of aggression. Self defense should be used against all such perpetrators whoever they are.

There is absolutely no need for Israel to continue to face Arab terror and continual violence over 71 years and lack the right to appropriate self-defense.

Article 3(a) of UN Resolution 3314 clearly covers aggression emanating from the Palestinian Authority, an internationally recognized autonomous, national political entity established by international treaty – the Oslo Accords. Moreover, Article 3(g) cites specifically that this includes:

“The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed hands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State of such gravity as to amount to the acts listed above, or its substantial involvement therein.”

Palestinian terrorist cells, with command centres and support in places such as Ramallah, Jenin, and Jordan using areas under the civil and security responsibility of the Palestinian Authority as organizational and staging areas to commit terrorist acts, clearly fall within the confines of this Resolution.

Applying Israeli sovereignty to settlements in the Jordan Valley will increase unfettered (by biased lawfare…) Israeli presence to more effectively counter this terror and right a political wrong 71 years in the making.

In line with the understandings contained in Article 51 of the UN Charter and Articles 3 and 5 of Resolution 3314, Israel is within its rights to legally annex territory it has taken in a defensive war for the reasons of protection of its sovereign land and inhabitants I have outlined above.

About the Author
Alan Meyer is a retired educator with an interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict, photography and Australian road trips.
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