With Its Threats against Israel, the EU Undermines International Law

The office of the European Union’s president, along with several member states, have made clear that they will consider taking punitive actions against Jerusalem should it go through with plans to extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank. In the assessment of EU diplomats, Israel has no legitimate claims to land outside the 1949 armistice lines—the so-called “1967 lines”—and any attempt to act as if it does violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. But, to David Wurmser, this entire argument is based on a poor reading of the law:

Right off the bat, it is hard to take Europe’s insistence on the 1967 lines as sacrosanct too seriously. EU members collectively still refuse to move their embassies to the western parts of Jerusalem, which have been part of Israel since 1948, but in some fantasy scenario might someday be part of a Palestinian state. It is a very strange formulation when land on the western side of the 1967 line—that is, land indisputably belonging to Israel for 72 years—is considered negotiable, but every inch on the other side is off the table. Are the 1967 lines sacrosanct or not? The double standard, applied to Jews but not to Palestinians, only raises questions about intent.

Some inconsistency can be dismissed, but undermining the rule of law should not be. . . . The preamble to the [1922 British] Mandate “recognizes” that the Jewish people have an inherent right to the territory defined by the Mandate, a sole claim to the deed in terms of property law, as opposed to being “granted” or awarded that right by the international body. It essentially says that the right is already that of the Jewish people, and the international community cannot therefore grant to a people that which is already theirs.

Sometimes events provide clarifying moments. The European Union’s response to the prospect of Israel’s annexation of parts of the Jordan Valley, in which several almost entirely Jewish settlement blocs are located, is such a moment. By dressing up cynical political calculations as “the rule of law,” Europe in fact risks undermining Jewish rights and violating the very body of international law EU leaders claim to defend.

Read more at National Review

More about: European Union, International Law, West Bank

Iran’s President May Be Dead. What Next?

At the moment, Hizballah’s superiors in Tehran probably aren’t giving much thought to the militia’s next move. More likely, they are focused on the fact that their country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, along with the foreign minister, may have been killed in a helicopter crash near the Iran-Azerbaijan border. Iranians set off fireworks to celebrate the possible death of this man known as “butcher of Tehran” for his role in executing dissidents. Shay Khatiri explains what will happen next:

If the president is dead or unable to perform his duties for longer than two months, the first vice-president, the speaker of the parliament, and the chief justice, with the consent of the supreme leader, form a council to choose the succession mechanism. In effect, this means that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will decide [how to proceed]. Either a new election is called, or Khamenei will dictate that the council chooses a single person to avoid an election in time of crisis.

Whatever happens next, however, Raisi’s “hard landing” will mark the first chapter in a game of musical chairs that will consume the Islamic Republic for months and will set the stage not only for the post-Raisi era, but the post-Khamenei one as well.

As for the inevitable speculation that Raisi’s death wasn’t an accident: everything I have read so far suggests that it was. Still, that its foremost enemy will be distracted by a succession struggle is good news for Israel. And it wouldn’t be terrible if Iran’s leaders suspect that the Mossad just might have taken out Raisi. For all their rhetoric about martyrdom, I doubt they relish the prospect of becoming martyrs themselves.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Mossad