12 August 2016
Israel and the Inadmissibility of Territorial Acquisition by War
Palestinian Self-Determination and UNSCR 242
Israel is widely accused of occupying territory that belongs to another people: the Palestinians. This is considered immoral, oppressive and a violation of major principles of international law:
- the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war;
- the denial of the Palestinian right of national self-determination.
Most famously expressed in UNSCR 242 of November 1967, the legal principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is often used to imply that Israel is bound to withdraw unilaterally from the territories captured in the 6-Day War. In fact, UNSCR 242 made no such demand, although it could easily have done so if that was intended. Therefore, if the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is indeed a principle of international law, why did 242 not require Israeli withdrawal?
The ban on acquiring territory by war is derived from Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, which states:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.