Gilbert Kahn’s Sept. 3 op-ed (“Israel won the war. Can it win the peace?”) needs to be addressed to the Palestinians rather than Israel. History clearly demonstrates that no matter what concessions are made by Israel, or how generous Israel’s proposals, the Arabs have been consistent in their rejection of peace. By way of confirmation, one has only to consider the proposals of two former prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert.
As for “settlements,” this shopworn canard has been fully addressed in recent times by law professor Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University, senior fellow at the Jerusalem Kohelet Policy Forum and an expert in international law.
Kontorovich, in explaining how most are unaware of the specific history or elect to ignore it, develops his arguments around the validity of the League of Nations mandate systems in that they remain in force to this day. To that end:
• Mandatory Palestine, which was supposed to become a Jewish state alone, included the West Bank.
• International law rules those borders, as defined, remain the same unless something formal happens to change them. “No such event has occurred.”
• Regarding the West Bank, “Israel’s legal title to the land under the Mandate means it cannot be an occupier — a country cannot occupy itself. This makes all the questions about the legality of settlements moot, because they are based on the existence of an occupation.”
The U.S. State Department and UN resolutions positions condemning settlements are not international law.