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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Foreign Ministry legal opinion: Israel could transfer 'Israeli Arabs' to 'Palestine'

A legal opinion commissioned by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and written by the ministry's legal staff, has concluded that Israel may legally transfer 'Israeli Arabs' to a state of 'Palestine' without giving those 'Israeli Arabs' the choice to remain Israeli citizens.
The 18-page document itself by Keinan appears to be a fascinating and delicate balancing of interests.
First, it carefully frames the legal question as one of states exchanging land and populations in the context of resolving border disputes, not as targeted solely at population transfer, which could bring criminal allegations of ethnic cleansing.
Next, on the one hand, Keinan and his legal team were not likely to tell their boss, Liberman, that his idea is categorically illegal, and as the opinion says, there could be very specific circumstances where it might not be categorically illegal.
On the other hand, they probably did not want to be used as a fig leaf for Liberman’s public campaign in favor of his idea.
So the big support for Liberman’s idea is the opinion’s statement that even though most state practice in transferring territory and populations has offered the transferees a choice of becoming citizens in the new state versus remaining in the old state by moving “inward,” this choice has not yet become a binding obligation under international law.
Meaning, it says Israel could do the transfer potentially without giving the “transferees” a choice to stay.
The opinion gives as the basis for this claim: the minority of examples where there was no such right (since the choice was given in most examples), the absence of any definitive convention requiring choice as a right in resolving border disputes, rulings of the International Court of Justice and a recent instance where states rejected making that right required, instead leaving it only as desired.
However, the opinion then adds at least three fundamental qualifications without which it says any population transfer would be illegal.
The first two requirements are: there must be just compensation, as with Gush Katif, and that the transferees would need to finish the process with either Israeli or Palestinian citizenship, so they would not emerge stateless.
These requirements are based on the idea that they should not come out of the border resolution dispute having lost human or economic rights, and neither are surprising.
But the third condition: that the Palestinians must approve and receive the Israeli Arabs, is a poison pill.
Hmmm. How does this impact on the reverse? Can Israelis living in Judea and Samaria choose to become 'Palestinian' citizens? If they leave, must they be compensated?

And by the way, Gush Katif is a horrific example of 'compensation.'

What could go wrong?

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At 2:32 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Keyword: Counties.


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