What Israeli Sovereignty in the West Bank Would Mean, and Why Britain Should Support It

According to paragraph 29 of the agreement cementing Israel’s governing coalition, prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu can introduce a bill in the Knesset after June 30 that would apply Israeli sovereignty to certain portions of Judea and Samaria not currently under the Palestinian Authority’s control. Stephen Daisley writes:

[A] sovereignty bill, if it passes into law, will simply begin the process of implementing the Trump administration’s peace plan. . . . The United States intends to recognize this Israeli sovereignty provided Jerusalem agrees to map out a Palestinian state with its opposite numbers in Ramallah.

Come July 1, Britain will view Israel’s application of its laws to its communities in Judea and Samaria as no different from Russia’s invasions and annexation of the Crimea. That is an unsustainable situation, not least when it involves a friendly nation that furnishes us with vital intelligence on national security threats.

In preparation for likely changes to Israel’s map, the UK should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, commit to moving its embassy there once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, and affirm, as the U.S. has, that civilian settlements are not “per-se inconsistent with international law.”

The sovereignty bill Netanyahu is likely to bring forward will leave the Palestinians with the vast majority of Judea and Samaria. Along with Gaza, this gives them substantial territory on which to found their state. Any country that considers itself a friend to the Palestinians should beg them to take the deal and end the conflict. Britain should right a historical wrong by affirming a promise it made a century ago and never again should it treat an ally like an “illegal occupier” in its own land.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian statehood, Trump Peace Plan, United Kingdom, West Bank

The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law