JUSTICE - No. 71

16 No. 71 JUSTICE Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have yet to recognize Israel’s right to live peacefully within secure borders. Nevertheless, in recent years Palestinian advocates have argued without citing any legal authority that any occupation exceeding ten years should be regarded as presumptively unlawful.22 Their position ignores Turkey’s 50-year occupation of Northern Cyprus, which Turkey invaded without provocation on July 20, 1974. The Security Council requested Turkey’s withdrawal from Cyprus in Resolution 360, but since then neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly have demanded Turkey’s withdrawal or otherwise condemned the occupation or described it as “prolonged.”23 Similarly, the UN has never condemned Morocco’s nearly 50-year occupation of most of the Western Sahara as “prolonged,” and the Arab League recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the occupied territory. Although the General Assembly condemned the Moroccan occupation in Resolution 35/19,24 neither it nor the Security Council has condemned the occupation since then. Annexation The General Assembly’s December 2022 reference to “annexation of occupied Palestinian territory” is unclear. The language cannot, in fact, mean the entire West Bank, because the West Bank has not been formally annexed by Israel. The only territories Israel has ever formally annexed were East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1980, and the Golan Heights in 1981. Therefore, the reading of the General Assembly’s request must be limited to these areas. It is important to emphasize that the Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and the United Nations, have repeatedly failed to articulate any meaningful legal Palestinian claim over East Jerusalem or the Old City. This failure occurred within the 1947 UN Partition Plan, in the wake of the Six-Day War in 1967, and during multiple peace negotiations. First, the UN’s November 1947 partition plan called for the internationalization of Jerusalem, and no part of the city was allocated to the proposed Palestinian state. Second, Resolution 242, which was adopted in the wake of the 1967 war, demanded that Israel withdraw only “from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” The Council’s focus on the “recent conflict” creates an implicit recognition of Israel’s claim over West Jerusalem, which Israel had incorporated into its sovereign territory nearly two decades earlier. Moreover, the “withdrawal” requirement is predicated on the Arab states recognizing Israel’s “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” However, several neighbors of Israel refuse to recognize its borders, the right to live peacefully within them, or the right to maintain the security of the borders. In any event, if Israel were to withdraw from any portion of East Jerusalem or the Old City, Resolution 242 would require Israel to hand those areas back to Jordan, not to the Palestinians. The Security Council in 1967 understood that during the Jordanian occupation between 1948-1967, the Palestinians never laid claim to any portion of Jerusalem, and therefore the Security Council made no mention of any Palestinian “rights” to East Jerusalem. Third, the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty of 1994 acknowledged Jordanian, but not Palestinian, rights at the Muslim Holy sites in Jerusalem.25 The Treaty takes note of “the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” The Jordanian role was reaffirmed in a March 2023 Joint Communique issued by Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the United States and even the Palestinian Authority, reiterating “the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship/special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”26 22. Comm. on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Study on the Legality of the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, 8, 22 (Aug. 30, 2023), available at https:// www.un.org/unispal/document/ceirpp-legal-study2023/ 23. The Security Council in Resolution 541 (18 Nov. 1983) rejected Turkey’s effort to declare the independence of Northern Cyprus but did not explicitly call for Turkey’s withdrawal from the Island. No states currently recognize Northern Cyprus as a separate state, but several states maintain informal relations with the entity, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation has granted it observer status. UN S.C. Res 360, U.N. Doc. S/RES/360 (Aug. 16, 1974), available at https://digitallibrary.un.org/ record/93476?ln=en 24. UN G.A. Res 35/19, U.N. Doc. A/RES/35/19 (Nov. 11, 1980), available at https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?F inalSymbol=A%2FRES%2F35%2F19&Language=E& DeviceType=Desktop&LangRequested=False 25. Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, art. 9(2), Oct. 26, 1994, 2042 U.N.T.S. 35325. 26. “Joint Communique from the March 19 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh,” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Office of the Spokesperson, Mar. 19, 2023, available at https://www. state.gov/joint-communique-from-the-march-19-meetingin-sharm-el-sheikh/

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