2 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 207 (1979)
Israel: What Is Occupied Territory - a Reply to the Legal Adviser

handle is hein.journals/hjlpp2 and id is 211 raw text is: ISRAEL: WHAT IS OCCUPIED
TERRITORY?
A REPLY TO THE LEGAL ADVISER
WILLLIAM M. BRINTON*
The political and economic implications of the current Mid-
dle East situation have so dominated the public debate that the
United States has ignored, or erred with respect to, the legal
analysis underlying the territorial claims of the states involved.
Mr. Brinton undertakes that analysis, and explores its military,
political and economic ramifications for both the Middle East
and the United States.
With events since the meeting in September, 1978, at Camp
David occurring at an accelerating pace, it is easy to forget just
how the United States positioned itself long before the widely
heralded meeting there between Prime Minister Menachem Begin
and President Anwar Sadat. President Carter was far more than
the host at Camp David. Quite clearly, he had a preconceived no-
tion of just what principles of customary international law should
guide the participants toward a settlement. They appear in part in
an opinion of the Legal Adviser to the Department of State dated
April 21, 1978.' In letter form, the opinion purported to deal with
the legality of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. To
Mr. Hansell, the Legal Adviser, these occupied territories in-
cluded the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai and the Golan
Heights. It is the purpose of this article to analyze this opinion, to
illustrate in what respect it is incorrect, to transfer legal precepts to
the strategic realities of the present situation in the Middle East
and to show in what respect the United States has eroded its own
Middle East security interests.
* William Brinton graduated from Yale in 1942, spent four years in the Navy as an
aviator, and graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1948. He practices
law in San Francisco, and is a member of the American Society of International Law and
the International Law Section of the American Bar Association.
1 17 INT'L LEGAL MATERIALS 777-779 (No. 3 1978). This opinion was signed by Herbert
J. Hansell, Legal Adviser, Department of State.

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