The international media, as well as many diplomats, have spoken of Jerusalem’s plans to apply Israeli law to parts of the West Bank as “annexation.” To Arsen Ostrovsky and Richard Kemp, this is a misapplication of the term, and sometimes a knowing one:
In essence, annexation means one state imposing legal authority over the territory of another state acquired by force or aggression, normally during war. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines “annexation by the use of force of the territory of another state of part thereof” as “constituting the grave Crime of Aggression.” Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus are prime examples of such cases.
[Prohibitions in international law against the annexation of foreign territory] apply to territory acquired by force or in an offensive war. The Six-Day War, in which Israel was compelled to defend itself from neighboring Arab armies seeking the Jewish state’s destruction, was defensive. Second, in 1967, there was no “state of Palestine,” nor does such an entity exist today under international law. Therefore, Israel is not, and cannot, be annexing the territory of “another state.”
Third, and perhaps most importantly, all of the above negates the Jewish people’s . . . connection to Judea and Samaria, which is rooted both in historical rights, and in undeniable legal ones.
More accurate would be to say that Israel is “extending Israeli sovereignty” or “applying Israeli law” to parts of Judea and Samaria. One may reasonably argue about the policy merits of Israel’s proposed actions in Judea and Samaria, but to call such actions “annexation” is false.