Territorial disputes: the Israel-Palestine difference (Part 9) [Post 49]

Following our previous post, and thinking of the moral standing as a colourable claim in relation to the Israel-Palestine difference, who counts? Do Israelis only count? Do Palestinians only count? Both.

The self-evident fact is that both Israelis and Palestinians live in the territory and their lives (and that of their future generations) will be affected more than any others by the arrangements that are adopted in the negotiations, in particular in territories under controversy such as Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. In other words, presence gives one a colourable claim.

Someone may claim that this may encourage occupation. But as long as the people have been there long enough to establish roots, whether their occupation is rightful or wrongful, they at least should have the right to participate in the negotiations. How much weight their claim gets is something to be discussed. So it would be unfair to ask them to leave or not to take their claimed rights into consideration. Indeed, I do assume a peaceful understanding and reasonable people that see other means rather than war, reprisals and continuous tension that only grans one result for all: a very volatile situation.


For example, it is true that Israel could acknowledge the right of the population currently living in the territories under dispute to be self-determining but deny their right to be self-determining on Israeli land (if they want to be self-determining they should go and do it somewhere else, for example any of the other Middle East states). But once again, this would be a practical approach that does not grant a just and fair outcome. The Palestinians would have their right to self-determination made conditional on being under Israeli sovereignty (“you can decide your future if and only if it is within my power”). It is hard to see how such an agreement could settle the difference peacefully and permanently.
The pictures from yesterday and today’s posts were selected intentionally. The pictures, when compared, show a very different set of local, regional and international moral values. A long (long) time ago people live peacefully in that same territory. Obviously, there might have been disputes like in any society. Yet, different ethnicities, religions, genders, age groups used to live together. This is what we see from the painting (Post 48, Part 8). Today a current picture taken in Gaza shows a very different reality.


The extent of the negotiations and final agreement are matters for a deeper analysis and discussion. The previous posts about the particular TERRITORIAL DISPUTES in relation to Kashmir, the Falkland/Malvinas islands and Gibraltar demonstrate how by means of the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY a cooperation can materialize solutions for questions linked to people, territory, government and law.

For a reference to a “colourable claim” and its grounds see these previous posts from the TERRITORIAL DISPUTES series:

NOTE: based on Chapter 6, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Jorge Emilio Nunez

Twitter: @London1701

03rd May 2018

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