Wednesday, August 10, 2016

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
There was a recent kerfuffle over the (false) rumor that Google had erased "Palestine" from Google Maps.

One reaction to this came from Katherine Gallagher, a senior staff Attorney, Int'l Human Rights at Center for Constitutional Rights


Since I had never heard that declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel is against international law, I politely asked her to please elaborate:




I copied Professor Katherine Franke, who is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School and who retweeted the original claim.

Although both of them were on Twitter after I asked the question, for some strange reason they decided not to answer.

I asked again:



And again and again:


How disappointing that a professional lawyer who makes an assertion like that and her law professor supporter cannot dig up a simple reference to a legal document that says that it is illegal for Israel - or anyone else - to declare Jerusalem its capital.

The only possible basis for saying this would be if they claim, against all logic and legal reasoning, that the UNGA's 1947 and subsequent resolutions that tried to declare Jerusalem to be a "corpus separatum," a separate entity not under any state's jurisdiction.

General Assembly resolutions are not international law and the resolution never came to pass, just as the Arab state of Palestine never came to pass either.



But if they claim that Jerusalem west of the Green Line is not part of Israel, then "east Jerusalem" cannot possibly be part of "Palestine." In fact, under the UN's original plan, Bethlehem was going to be part of the corpus separatum as well.

Although this still seems to be the official policy of the EU and the US and UN in many ways, it is inherently illogical: if the Green Line is meant to be the basis for the boundaries between Israel and a Palestinian state, then these nations accept that west Jerusalem is part of Israel. There is zero legal basis for declaring Jerusalem an international city as the UN originally planned, so anyone making that claim is not making a legal argument but a political one. To put it bluntly, the reason why the Western world doesn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is because they are afraid of Arab reactions, not because of anything illegal about Israel building the Knesset within the Green Line.

But hey - maybe I'm wrong and somehow these two brilliant legal minds can come up with a way that Israel cannot declare Jerusalem to be its capital but Palestinians can declare it to be theirs that is consistent with international law.

I'm not holding my breath, though.



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