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32 Harv. Int'l. L. J. 457 (1991)
International Law and the Territories

handle is hein.journals/hilj32 and id is 463 raw text is: VOLUME 32, NUMBER 2, SPRING 1991

International Law and the Territories
Michael Curtis*
In Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories
Since 1967, Adam Roberts warns that the language of law can
become a language of right and wrong, of moralistic reproach.' The
frequent result of this process, he explains, is a facile application of
general rules without a deep understanding of situations that are
unique.2 His admonition might well apply to the article The Rele-
vance of International Law to Palestinian Rights in the West Bank
and Gaza by Richard A. Falk and Burns H. Weston, which has more
the fervor of political advocacy than the circumspection of international
law. Falk and Weston appear primarily concerned with mobilizing
as much international pressure as possible rather than clarifying the
legal landscape.3 No doubt, customary and conventional international
law have often been used to buttress tendentious political positions,
and it would be unrealistic to expect otherwise. The fundamental
problem with Falk and Weston's argument is that it is infused with
an animus that exceeds the usual boundaries of scholarly discourse
while paying scant attention to the realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The authors continually employ selective and intemperate language
when referring to Israel. For example, while they stop short of arguing
that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza can be equated
with Iraq's unprovoked aggression against and occupation of Kuwait,
they still use, the word invasion when referring to Israel's defensive
actions in June 1967 against imminent Arab attack. The authors speak
of the harsh character of Israel's administration in the territories over
the last twenty-three years and the failed responsibility towards the
Palestinian people.4 Their analysis of Israeli action includes allegations
of tortious and/or criminal responsibility,'5 prolonged and oppressive
Israeli occupation,6 abusing the populations of the West Bank and
* Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University.
1. Adam Roberts, Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories Since 1967, 84
AM. J. INT'L L. 44, 45 (1990).
2. Id.
3. See Richard A. Falk & Burns H. Weston, The Relevance of International Law to Paletinian
Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: In Legal Defense of the Intifada, 32 HARV. INT'L L.J. 129
4. Falk & Weston, supra note 3, at 144.
5. Id. at 146.
6. Id. at 151.

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