Why the Term “Annexation” Wouldn’t Apply to Israel’s Actions in the West Bank

June 15 2020

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.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Annexation, International Law, West Bank

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism